Weeds In My Paradise

Florida Betony and Dollarweed

The weeds found my plot of paradise, long ago, without benefit of the bug’s air traffic controller.

Stachys floridana was the most annoying for many years. It is also known as Florida Betony or Rattlesnake Weed because of underground tubers resembling the tail of a rattlesnake. Assuming, of course, the rattlesnakes in your neck of the woods are albino because the tuber is white. A member of the mint family, it is an invasive, year-round nuisance that really takes over in the winter. Not just the flower beds, mind you, but the lawn, the veggie plot, every available speck of ground. You can’t help but wonder what was on God’s mind the day he created Betony. Kinda makes you want to offer up a bribe, er, bargain. “God, if I planted a lot, and I mean a LOT of flowering plants and bushes in my garden, would you ease up on the Betony?” I came up with this bargain when I saw the bees feeding on it and figured that was His plan. It’s funny, but the more time you spend in the garden, the more you notice things going on that have absolutely nothing to do with your agenda for the garden.

Dollarweed, or Pennywort, is another pest we’ve had forever and ever. Clemson University claims it’s a warm season perennial weed. I got news for them, the stuff hikes all over my yard all year long. One of my Bible study buds just sent me a book, I Eat Weeds by Priscilla G. Bowers, which claims that “eaten raw, the new young leaves are tender and tasty.” This means I will never go hungry.

In recent years, we’ve been the recipient of new weeds we didn’t order. Strictly in the lawn, I have to assume these did not come from plant nurseries. That leaves birds doing a fly-by-pooping. Not a thing I can do about it, though, because Poppie regularly fills a bird feeder a few feet from his recliner.

Desmodium, or Beggars Lice, was one of our pooping gifts. The experts claim it blooms from May to August and that part might be correct but the fruit – the part that sticks to your clothing – continues right on into the winter. Do you know how hard it is to pick that stuff off of your air-conditioned shoes?

Asteraceae, commonly known as Fleabane, is the only weed with a redeeming quality. It has little daisy-like white flowers over a dense mat of very green leaves. Note the word mat. You wouldn’t want to leave your foot out there overnight because the mat would grow over it and you’d never find it.

At this point, the Beggars Lice and Fleabane are in the grass, but how long before I am the recipient of a bird gifting in my flower beds? Jeez Louise, the whole weed thing is completely out of a gardener’s control!