In the Weeds

For the first time today I recognized, deep down,  what restaurant cooks mean when they say they’re “in the weeds” or “weeded.” I mean, I’ve known for years that it means being so behind on your orders that it feels as if you’ll never get through service alive, let alone getting the right orders to the right customers.

But today, as my back ached and sweat bedewed my bosom, I realized that I’m in the weeds for the rest of my life, or as long as I live in this house. The garden’s too big, laid out in my optimistic thirties, and my tolerance for slaving in the heat has become too small. My weeds are thugs, maybe because of all those years of solemn soil amendment — Man, are they happy!

Many gardeners go on about the meditative aspects of weeding and it’s health-giving properties — all that “light” exercise. Har. I should be as enlightened as St. Teresa of Avila and as supple as Selma Hyack. I’m not.

But today I admitted: I’m going to be in the weeds forever, even if I spend two solid hours a day pulling and whacking from March until November.  The weeds will always win.

But…. the garden’s looking better. Here are a few photos (heavily cropped to hide some of the weeds.)

The lovely spicy- scented rosa Therese Bugnet:












The Henry Hudson rose from the Canadian Explorer series:









Blooming chives:








And my spanking new leather-palmed and fingered gardening gloves, on a bed of geranium sanguineum:











It’s allowed me to forgive myself, this realization that I’m never going to win, no matter how hard I work. I mean, I’m not going to slough off; I’ll be sweating and groaning tomorrow on a muggy Midwestern day in the 90s. But now I’ll forgive myself for knowing my weeds and flowers will never get a six page spread in Martha Stewart Living.




Filed under Free, Growing things, On the Street Where I Live, The 'Ville, The Great Outdoors

5 responses to “In the Weeds

  1. Lloyd

    Ah, the joys of apartment living in a temperate climate – a few pots of herbs on the stairs and nothing more.

  2. Kim Shook

    I think your garden is lovely and I admire you for all your efforts. I do almost NOTHING in the yard. I love the look of a beautiful garden and I love the IDEA of gardening – the fantasy of strolling through an ocean of flowers with a basket on my arm, secateurs in hand – chosing just the right bloom for my dining table arrangement. But the ugly truth is that I just don’t care for outside work at all. I SAY it’s because I don’t have time, but that’s not precisely honest!

  3. sparrowgrass

    MULCH. I hate weeding. Everything I have is mulched within an inch of its life–the veggies with cardboard and straw, the flowers with wood chips. If something pokes thru the wood chips that is too entrenched to pull easily, I plop a container (full of plants) on top of the weed until it expires from lack of sunshine.

    I also crowd everything, and plant stuff that fights the weeds. No delicate little posies–nope. Peonies and irises and daylilies, lots of sturdy natives like coneflowers and butterfly weed.

    Expanding a bed or making a new one–start in the fall by weedeating the grass down to the dirt (or spray, if that doesn’t bother your conscience) then lay down a layer of cardboard and a thick layer of mulch. By spring, the grass will be dead, and you can shift the mulch aside and plant your plants.

    Mulch is your friend. Lots of mulch. When I mow my yard, I make sure to aim the clippings onto the flower beds–mulch. Same for the fall leaves–I mow them into shreds and blow them onto the beds.

    I am also pretty tolerant of weeds–I have let the creeping charlie fill in under the maple tree–the hostas, lilies of the valley and bleeding hearts can outgrow it, and creeping charlie is way more attractive than bare mulch. I call that my green garden. (Most things perish in the dry shade of a maple.)

    I should start my own blog, called ‘The Lazy Gardener’. But I am too lazy.

  4. Debra, I’m in mulch up to my ankles, I swear! But I agree that lots of planting discourages weeds. Now that I’ve seen Federer beat Djokovich I can resume my task!

  5. Patty

    Maybe your weeds won’t but your flowers might. A garden that beautiful is well worth having a few weeds especially if you can hide them from view!

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