Certain events make you question some of the basic things you take for granted in life. While it might not seem so at first, ivy removal is one of them. In my innocence I thought that when you uprooted a plant it was gone. Not so the Class C noxious weed English ivy which seems to regenerate in a matter of minutes. As I found myself devoting a soggy November afternoon to making yet another attempt to eradicate the endless vine, I began to wonder what weeds are exactly and why we devote so much time and effort trying to get rid of them.
If you want to delve a little deeper into the ambivalent nature of weeds, there are two new books that will help you explore the topic. In A Weed by Any Other Name by Nancy Gift, who is a weed scientist, the author argues that it is best to learn to accept weeds rather than waste your time fighting them. She does this by exonerating several weeds and showing how useful they are.
If you prefer your weeds on the dark side, however, definitely check out Wicked Plants by Amy Stewart. She details a rogue’s gallery of botany with chapter titles such as “Killer Algae” and “Weeds of Mass Destruction.” In her book each weed is a possible murder suspect.
Whether you consider them good or ill, weeds have to be dealt with in one way or the other. Perhaps it is best to adopt author Roger Welsch’s attitude in his book Weed’em and Reap: A weed eater reader and get those weeds on your plate. You may lose the battle to keep your lawn respectable in the eyes of your neighbors, but you will have a steady source of nutrition.