Gardening For People

Weeds: can’t live with ‘em, can’t live without ‘em. I mean, I’m forever removing them from my garden beds and pathways, and fighting an uphill battle to keep my grassy patch from having no actual grass in it. On the other hand, I do like to eat said dandelions – hey, it’s cheaper than buying microgreens from the local organic joint – along with any chickweed and plantain that pops up in the lawn. Self-sown plants just have that special x-factor that really makes a salad pop. 

On the whole, I have to admire the assertive spirit of even the most noxious creeping vine. It’s kind of inspiring. These guys handle their own business, and aren’t afraid to claim any spare patch of territory – even if it is right where I’m planning to sow my broad beans. There’s a lot we can learn from plants in general, and weeds are no exception. When you think of it that way, even the term ‘weed’ is down to the eye of the beholder. 

I realise that some of these plants can be really invasive, which is problematic for native bushland. That’s why I’m inclined to give priority to natives in my garden; I feel like they must be the best sources of food for native birds and insects. Lately, I’m all about unusual leptospermum cultivars – the bees seem to love them, at any rate. Growing specimen shrubs of any kind is actually a good motivator for me to deal with some of my self-sown buddies, especially the ones that have the highest tendency to take over.

To be perfectly honest, I’m happy with just about any plant, however it comes. Even so, I occasionally find myself getting disproportionately excited about some particular species. At the moment, I have a thing for bear’s breeches, otherwise known as the oyster plant or Acanthus mollis. To buy them is actually not that easy because they’re so common as to be actually held in contempt by some gardeners – in fact, I’m pretty sure they’re considered an invasive species in some areas of Australia. But they’re gorgeous!