When I wrote about the invasion of bindweed in my yard last week, I was inspired to learn more about all my personal weeds. It’s kind of a get-to-know-the-enemy mentality. Don’t be daunted by their numbers, but be the rallying underdog!
Browsing through my gardening library resulted in finding two books about weeds, but the illustrations are all drawings. Some of my weeds I already knew enough about to identify, but many of the drawings left me frustrated. Besides that, the lists were so comprehensive for all of the United States, that it was a lot to wade through.
I had the same trouble on the internet. Too many choices. Not only did the lists cover multiple climates, but the lists tended to focus on weeds that thrived in the “natural” environment. There is some overlap, but a cultivated yard seems to have some distinct weeds.
The photos varied in their usefulness. I usually came away thinking I just wanted a couple more photos to help me see if it was “my” weed. Then, I wondered why I cared. What did it matter what they are called? I will still be trying to destroy them!
I guess part of it is just curiosity. Part of it is being able to come in for the day and say, “I pulled a whole bunch of _____.” Somehow, being able to name it, makes it more real.
I also thought it might be good to know certain traits of my weeds. Has someone discovered a vulnerability that I could take advantage of? Is anything about the weed toxic or irritating? Might it be useful to know ahead of time what sort of seeds and dispersal I will be up against?
So, I am going to start cataloging my weeds. I will collect a lot of photos, do some research, and write up articles about my very own backyard weeds. I will gradually build an index on a page on my blog. It will be somewhere between a game and a fight for survival. Maybe my next math story problem with have a happy ending.