- Education and Science
Everyone is a Weed in Someone's Garden
One of the rare blue edible things
What is a weed? A plant whose virtues have not yet been discovered. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
I have always been fascinated by the concept of weeds. Tenacious, frustrating, masters of survival. They have been referred to as "nature's graffiti." Some have been so successful they have earned their own place in horticulture as grass, ornamentals, medicine and sometimes flowers of choice rather than a scourge to be hunted down and eliminated.
I have known people like that. People who don't look like, who don't act like and who don't fit in with the crowd they are in. And yet, in their own right and amongst others who see their worth, they often are the trendsetters, the ones who are quoted and eventually emulated.
But what about the weeds that proliferate so that the plants who were there first can't compete? What about the weeds that are prickly and don't look as pretty as the other plants? If you are a human weed, the difference is you have a choice. As we look at nature's "weeds" we just might learn a thing or two that will make all the difference in how we are perceived and whether or not we will be included or excluded.
He who hunts for flowers will find flowers; and he who loves weeds will find weeds. ~Henry Ward Beecher
Borage, also known as Starflower, originated in Syria and has
naturalized all over Europe and the Americas. The seed oil is desired
as a source of gamma linoleic acid or GLA, for which borage is the highest known plant-based source. Borage or Starflower is a flower that quite often grows as a weed in home gardens. The flower is one of the rare blue edible things, and
tastes very sweet. What we can learn from the Starflower is If you are useful and colorful, even if your pedigree is just starting, others will notice you and start to include you in their events and projects. (Newbie hubbers take note!)
One is tempted to say that the most human plants, after all, are the weeds. ~John Burroughs
May all your weeds be wildflowers. ~Author Unknown
What we call a weed is in fact merely a plant growing where we do not want it. ~E.J. Salisbury
Blow Away Dandelion
One of the most famous weeds is the dandelion. Many a homeowner has struggled with the lowly dandelion plant springing up in their yard--only to find their children plucking the ephereal sphere of helicopter-like seeds and blowing them into the wind to land who knows where amongst their carefully cultivated blades of grass or rows of flowers.
While the dandelion is considered a weed by many gardeners, the plant does have several culinary and medicinal uses. The plant can be eaten cooked or raw in various forms, such as in soup or salad. Usually the young, less bitter leaves are eaten raw in salads while older leaves are cooked. Dandelion blossoms are used to make dandelion wine. Dandelions are high in vitamin A and also are a source of vitamin C. Ground roasted dandelion root is sometimes used as a coffee substitute. Drunk before meals, this is believed to stimulate digestive functions. Unlike other diuretics, dandelion leaves contain good amounts of potassium, a mineral that is often lost during increased urination. There is also evidence that this property of dandelion leaves may normalize blood sugar.
We can learn from the dandelion--so you're a weed, be sweet ,
you can be sustenance for someone. If you are alone in a barren place,
put on a happy face and bloom where you are planted. If you want to
promote yourself--make it fun for others to help you.
I learn more about God from weeds than from roses; resilience springing
through the smallest chink of hope in the absolute of concrete....~Phillip Pulfrey
Weeds are flowers too, once you get to know them. ~A.A. Milne
One "weed" which came as an unwelcome tag-along to wheat or corn is a native of Europe where it is simply called "the Corn Cockle". The species is a weed of cereals and other crops, but because it is so attractive has become a flower of choice by many for their gardens.
The name "corn cockle" comes from its appearance in the corn fields of England, where it has been unwelcome for years. However, its 3- to 4-foot height with rosy pink to fuchsia flowers rippling in the wind make it a welcome addition to the garden, where it will bloom from June on.
What we can learn from the Corn Cockle is that even if you look good and seem useful (the seeds were early used to treat all sorts of ailments including cancer but now found to be toxic) if you are harmful or crowd out the more nutritious plants, you will be shunned. If, however, you stick to what you do best--in this case a pretty flower, you will be adored and included.
Pretty is As Pretty Does
The King's Cure-All
Evening primrose is a wildflower that grows throughout the U.S., and has served as food and medicine throughout history, often for upset stomach and respiratory infections. The oil is found in the plant's seeds and is high in the essential fatty acid gamma-linolenic acid (GLA). Native Americans ate the boiled, nutty-flavored root, and used leaf poultices from the plant for bruises and hemorrhoids. In the 17th century, European settlers took the root back to England and Germany, where it was introduced as food and became a popular folk remedy, earning the name king's cure-all. The plant was also a Shaker medicine, sold commercially. In the wild, evening-primrose acts as a primary colonizer, quickly appearing wherever a patch of bare, undisturbed ground may be found. This means that it tends to be found in poorer environments such as dunes, roadsides, railway embankments and wastelands where it eventually is out-competed by other species.
What we can learn from the Evening Primrose is that if our talents are not as stellar as others, we must make every opportunity count. If we are able to soothe hurts of others, we will be valued and protected and if we contribute what others really need we will be treated royally.
A Stranger is a Weed Until We Make them a Friend
A weed is a friend we haven't met yet
A door we haven't opened
A course we haven't charted
A letter we haven't read
A speech we've never heard
A melody never played
A habit we haven't formed
A stranger is a weed until we make them a friend
©Winsome Publishing 2010
A recent hub highlights a perfect day: It Was One of Those Surprise Days
- Useful Weeds
There are several ways in which weeds can be helpful to leave in the garden. Many of them, for example, are edible (indeed some are very tasty), whilst others have medicinal properties or other uses.