Ponderings from the Polytunnel

When is a weed not a weed?

 Ah, the Perennial question. Yes, the pun was absolutely intended! Now, I could get all ‘science-y‘ here or I could give you a dictionary definition of a weed but I’d rather dazzle you with my thoughts instead. I hope you’re sitting down for this. To me, a weed is simply something that I didn’t plant, growing in a place where I don’t want it to grow. What brought on this deeply philosophical musing I hear you ask?

I run a project on a garden that I’d been unable to access for 5 months due to a certain national lockdown. The natural world had decided it didn’t like the discipline me and my team had been enforcing upon it, and had been very creative in our absence. There were two ways we could have responded to this; 1/ hide under a duvet until spring OR 2/ work with what we’ve got – it was simply stuff growing where we didn’t plant it- and some of it was rather interesting.

bee bumblebee insect macro

Save the bees – don’t pull up the weeds!

We all have to deal with ‘weeds’ in our lives, things we didn’t plant that try to take root. A global pandemic is one such weed. We would not have chosen this experience. We continue to learn how best to manage and uproot this invasive nasty but in the meantime we live with its company. Some parts of this weed are actually quite attractive. They can stay; neighbourliness, gratitude, choosing to smile, reimagined education with more time to play, innovation, the strengthening of relationships, the realignment of priorities and the exponential boom in creativity.

As with the garden, we try and work with what we’ve got while holding on to the pretty stuff.  When winter comes, the weeds will die back and the prospect of spring will make us smile. The flowers will grow again and the bees will buzz – finding something that will help them thrive, even if it is just a simple, humble weed.

Published by the back door gardener

Passionate about growing food in any space and about teaching others to do the same. I'm trying to start a backdoor revolution - no allotment needed. I've fed myself from my garden for over 10 years; only needing to buy some emergency parsnips for Christmas several years ago.

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