"Full-flowered and visible on every steep, Along the copses runs in veins of gold."
W. WordsworthFor the sake of flowers, I have allowed the weeds to run free thus far. Between my garden beds, I have allowed dandelions to share their yellow offerings. I have even allowed the volunteer poppies to flower in the gravel of the drive. Soon, these beautiful spring flowers will wither into memory, and I will be left with just the weeds.
As you can see from many of the photos I have posted on this blog, I am less in favor of formal gardens that place emphasis on geometric design and structure, and more in favor of cottage gardens that include a variety of flowers, herbs, vegetables and other functional elements. A cottage garden is often equipped with a "kitchen garden" and even a bee hive and a chicken or two. Hey, that's me!
For me, part of the beauty of a cottage garden is that it is easy-going and very forgiving. But, what to do about the unwanted weeds? Well, in my cottage garden scene, some small weeds will always be present because I refuse to use poison to rid myself of them. Even if some weeds stay, I will use organic methods. Those weeds that lie quietly among the rambling visual landscape plants (like hidden in the lavender and junipers) will most likely continue to live there.
The ones in the photo above will be mowed to lawn height once the flowers are finished, and the chickens will help take care of patrolling the area. The problem weeds that must be dealt with are in the gravel driveway and walkways all around our property and gardens. And of course, those that attempt to invade the garden beds. Our first defense is to pull weeds a little every day as we are outside. If walking through the yard, we bend down and pluck a weed (or 20) here and there. This helps with maintenance.
But I have allowed ALL THE WEEDS TO FLOURISH so far this spring, and I cannot keep up. So, I am going to employ our weed torch to kill all the weeds in the gravel. Once they are burned, they can easily be picked up out of the pathway and hauled to the compost bin or the yard waste area. Those that attempt to invade the beds of the food gardens we will continue to weed by hand.
It is more work than say, spritzing the brand name poison I refuse to name, but we are rewarded with the knowledge that Amilia and our cat(s) and chickens are safe roaming the yard. Besides, many weed species have become herbicide tolerant, so it requires more and varied poisons to kill them...
If somebody were to ask me whether I would rather live a healthy life with a few unsightly weeds in my yard, or to have a perfectly manicured lawn, but die a painful, drawn-out terminal disease death from the toxicity caused by herbicides, I would choose healthy and natural WITH weeds - every time.
Happy weed pulling!