Poppie’s got some nerve calling me up hollering about MY weeds when he hasn’t mowed in a month of Sundays.

Poppie's Weeds
Poppie’s Weeds
Close-up of Poppie's weeds
Close-up of Poppie’s weeds



No one wants to hear, “You’ve got bad breath,” or “You stink,” right? I especially did not want to hear “You’ve got weeds!” when I knew durn tootin’ well that I had weeds. Yet that is just what Poppie said to me on the phone. Followed by “Why aren’t you out in the yard?” Of all people, he has seen me grimace to get out of a chair, all bent over, then slowly, mechanically, try to right myself. My spine is in miserable condition after a 2011 car accident.

“You’ve got weeds!” did not have quite the ring of anticipation as “You’ve got mail” and worse yet, he made me feel as though my section of the property looked diseased. I need new relatives.

Poppie knows I have been out there weeding and cleaning up! It’s just that after I’ve worked out there for three hours, two days in a row, I’m not worth a flip the next three days.

Then too, it’s been brrr-assed cold here for more than a month. Windy, too. My pole beans came up but they’ve been shivering as if they have doubts about the wisdom of the whole thing. Nothing else has had the guts to pop out of the ground. I thought about going out there this morning to finish stringing those pole beans but I can’t find a single spot on my body that ain’t broke so I decided against it. I took the photo, below, a few minutes ago, in the rain. Do I have to weed in the rain? Yes, there are a few weeds but mostly, it’s weed-free. Can I get a little appreciation?

spring 2013 veggie garden-1444
Spring 2013 Veggie Garden
Flower seeds in small pots, potatoes in big pot, asparagus in yellow frame

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!