A little over a week ago I was doing some work in my friend’s garden. She was very excited about my coming to help tidy up her special garden since it needed a good deal of dead-heading and weeding. There was one weed in particular that dominated…the dreaded dollar weed.
I detest this weed and am thankful that I rarely see it in my current garden at home. However, in the gardens of my past it has been everywhere, so I have become an expert at eradicating it. I usually feel very peaceful when I pull it up these days because I know how to conquer it with little effort unlike many of the other weeds I have in my home garden.
As I unearthed each stolon with a clear mind, I suddenly recalled a time when dollar weed was a plant that I actually thought was beautiful! In the back yard of my childhood there was a small oak tree and a large patch of dollar weed that grew around it. Whenever I looked at the lush green clover, it made me think of fairies and I believed that they lived among the silver dollar shaped leaves. To me it was the only picturesque spot in the whole yard (everywhere else was sandspurs and dewberry vines) and I felt it to be magical.
My mother on the other hand did not feel the same way. To her it was an ever expanding patch of weeds that needed to disappear. Over and over again she would try a different chemical to spray on it, but luckily for me no matter what she did it would remain. Finally, after a few years she found something potent enough to destroy my precious fairy forest. She never actually planted anything there, so underneath the oak tree was left bare and desolate.
Even after my bittersweet memory I kept pulling up the dollar weed. Although, it occurred to me how different we perceive things as we grow older. We tend to label things before understanding who or what they are and what they could be.
Just a few days later while reading “Gardening by Heart” by Joyce McGreevy I found a chapter called “A Weed by Any Other Name.” The following passage explained precisely how I felt about my once beloved dollar weed.
Come to think of it, how many kids today know the old game of holding a reflective buttercup under the chin to see who likes butter? Or have learned to make a daisy chain? Or have made a wish on a dandelion puffball? ‘Go out and play in the weeds’ sounds less than inviting. Yet a lot of grown-up gardeners once found a world of imagination with weeds that today’s kids can’t find with a two-thousand-dollar computer.
This is what gardening is all about. It allows you to be carried away by whatever thoughts that may come by because garden tasks require little thought and you are surrounded by plants, butterflies, birds…things that just make you feel good.