Citizen Tleilax


Please do not Disturb the Weed Garden – Chickweed and an Inefficient Society

My companion and I have a small patch of space in the common area of our little apartment compound which we cleared with the intention of starting a garden. We haven’t exactly gotten around to planting anything yet, but we did some preparation and a sign that says “Please do not disturb the garden” now sits in the corner, directed at the over-zealous landscapers hired by our landlord. They have dutifully heeded the sign and left our space free of intervention, and recently it has blossomed with a bounty of vibrant weeds. Well, it’s mainly just one weed–chickweed (Stellaria media)–which also happens to be quite edible, nutritious and medicinally valuable. And it just grows there without provocation! Rather considerate of the cute little thing if you ask me; I have a strong affinity for those that get by without being too dependent on others to take care of them.

As I sit here munching on a bowl of fresh, raw chickweed (a nice, tasty green crunch) and drinking chickweed tea, I once again marvel at the ignorance and stupidity of our society when it comes to plants. If our sign hadn’t been there, the “gardeners” wouldn’t have hesitated to eradicate this plant, even though the slightest bit of research shows that it actually has a utility value for humans. For no real reason besides cultural conditioning, it appears “unsightly” to people who have pathetically limited notions of what is acceptable to grow and how plants should look. They may even know what type of plant it is, since it is a commonly hated weed!

This example (see another below) reflects a major systemic failure of modern society. Again and again, it refuses to acknowledge things which could easily benefit it. To me, some of the most omnipresent and “noxious” weeds are just plants trying to get our attention as a species. They pop up everywhere saying, “Hello, look at me! I can help you!” and they wait to be recognized for their positive attributes… but most people aren’t paying attention. It’s this type of cultural mistake that causes a horrendous inefficiency in the way we as a people operate, as countries, companies, or just individuals. Too much energy is wasted on doing things the hard way or wasted on goals that are just plain wrong, instead of looking at solutions that are right in front of our faces.

On top of it, this stubborn ignorance about weeds is regularly enforced through sanctions against those who don’t conform to rules dictated by the empty despot that is Appearance. Tragically, this means that even if some individuals occasionally recognize the value of a yard or field full of weeds, they may very well cave in and prevent their growth simply to avoid the social pressures that may result from doing something different from the herd.

Personally, I’ve long been acclimated to life outside the norm and relish my usual position as the “strange one” in a variety of respects. As is probably quite clear, I love “weeds” (I just think of them as plants) and am happy to have a weed garden. I’m also thankful that they’re so tenacious–it’s nice to know that I will be able to receive help from many of them almost anywhere I go.

Please do not Disturb the Weed Garden (chickweed)

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*For another example, read Green Deane’s writing about how Florida failed to deal with a weed situation efficiently (scroll down to the bottom quarter of the page, the entry “14 March 2008: Attitude Makes The Difference”).

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6 Comments so far
Leave a comment

I like dandelions too, but everyone tries to kills those.

Comment by BJizzle

fantastic.

Comment by [tlr]

Great! =)

Comment by Rico C

I can follow you only half way with your notion. Allot of weeds came from Europe and don’t belong in North America. The Euro weed strangles and push out native plants in result these take over grasslands, forest, tropics, farm and urban growth. The over growth then leads to dead dried out fire hazards. Most of the Californian hill side fires are fuel by Euro weeds.

Comment by marcus

I am definitely a proponent of native plants in their native environments and for use as ornamentals in landscaping. I certainly don’t suggest purposefully propagating weeds in natural ecosystems. However, when they do appear I believe if they have a utility value, that should be recognized and acted upon instead of simply attempting to annihilate them with toxic herbicides which often fail anyway, and expensively at that (both financially and environmentally). In any case, I am primarily referring to environments created and maintained by man.

As for fires, they have been a natural part of California for thousands of years, long before Europeans colonized the area. That’s why there are, for example, many native plants whose seeds actually cannot even germinate until after a fire. Visit the California Native Plant Society for more information, and any general overview of California’s ecology. Poor land management and over-development seems to be the actual root of the damage our wildfires cause.

Comment by citizentleilax

[…] at various grades. Throughout the trail was a wide variety of herbaceous growth, most of which are common and considered weeds. Many of them I could not yet identify, having still much to learn in my studies, but I will […]

Pingback by A Hiking Adventure on Local Trails « Citizen Tleilax




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