No Such Thing as a Weed

This is the time of year when many yards and empty fields are bright with a variety of flowers.  Where I live in the southern United States, I’m easily able to spot the lavender-colored henbit, the deeper-purple grape hyacinth, and of course the bright yellow dandelion.  

I know my attitude isn’t shared by everyone, but I love seeing these flowers, especially in my own yard.  I respect the right for folks to make their own decisions, but I fall into the camp that doesn’t care for the idea of the monoculture that we call a lawn, and the chemicals required for that to happen.  ‘Nuf said about that.

I haven’t always been a wildflower-in-my-yard person.  Growing up, my family had a few of those “weed pullers” that we used to try to pull up dandelions.  It was a tool about 12” long with a forked blade on the end.  The idea was to dig deep for the root, but I’m not sure it really worked all that well.  Regardless, weeds didn’t belong in your yard.

My attitude changed, oddly enough, when I spent some time with the Army in Germany, thousands of miles away from the nearest American lawn.  My wife and I had a friend from work whose name was Libby.  Honestly, all I remember about her is she rode a Harley when she was stateside, she had red hair, her name inspired us as we sought to find a moniker for our cat, and she questioned the word “weed.”

“Why do you call it a weed?” she asked with a degree of sincerity that was a bit discomforting. 

I remember not really having an answer.  I didn’t have the beliefs and attitudes I have now about the natural world, so that was something new for me to think about.  

If you ask me now, I’ll tell you that a weed is simply a flower growing where it’s unwanted.  I really do think it’s as simple as that. 

Thanks, Libby.  I don’t have a clue where you’re at now, but I don’t doubt that, like me, you’ve got flowers in your life.  Maybe not the kind everyone wants, but we’ve got flowers. 

16 thoughts on “No Such Thing as a Weed”

  1. If you ask me now, I’ll tell you that a weed is simply a flower growing where it’s unwanted. My husband has this same belief. I’m learning to live with it. He has actually dug up wild flowers along the road and brought them back to plant in our yard. Enjoy your wild flowers!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Tim, you read my mind! One one of my (many!) sticky notes on my laptop, I wrote: Question: what is the difference between a weed and a flower? I have it on my list of saved topics for students. May I pretty please use this post as one of the mentor texts?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lainie, great minds, and all that! I’d be thrilled to know this post was being used as a mentor text, and wish I could see what your students come up with on the topic. Enjoy your spring writing!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. A weed may be a flower growing where it is unwanted, and I like flowers, but not the ones that grow where they are not wanted. I do however love your perspective. You see the good in so much. I am so the camp that weeds must DIE! (LOL)

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  4. Kids (students) questioned weeds all the time at school and I ended up giving them the same answer – a weed is a plant growing where it is not wanted. So, to some, weeds are flowers and flowers are weeds, to others. I went through this discussion many times about milkweed – not a weed at all, never was, never will be. Thankfully, now more recognize this “used to a be a weed” a necessary plant now growing purposefully in our yards, parks, roadsides, gardens, and schools. Thanks!

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    1. I’ve always wondered about plants that have “weed” in the name. Milkweed, pokeweed, and a few others whose name escapes me right now. Milkweed is especially important, and I’ll be trying to get it going this year. We’ll see how it goes!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks for planting milkweed. I hope it comes up for you. It can be finicky. Hawkweed is a new “weed” I learned this year – a prairie plant that looks like a dandelion! I had some growing in my garden. It’s pretty so I left it alone!

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