Posts Tagged ‘weeds’

When Black-Jacks became beautiful

May 21st, 2010, posted in Flora

I gasped at their beauty.  Never before had I seen common Black-jacks so beautiful!

Bidens pilosa

I had woken early that morning, my mind buzzing with the things that had to be done in preparation for my brother’s birthday party.  It was exciting, as finally my months, weeks and days of planning would evolve from my imagination and become a creative reality!

Pieter accepted coffee from me at 05h30 and to settle my excitement, he took me for a birding walk, the air was crisp with a cool breeze blowing, we listening to the early morning bird songs and walked amongst the tall red thatching grass watching stone chats and wax bills, robins and weavers living a free life.

We turned a corner and there in front of me was the most beautiful sight, surprisingly not an animal, nor a bird, but Bidens pilosa, the common Black-jack. The fine silhouette of its burrs made this weed attractive which was also thought provoking…  I thought about how often I had grumbled to myself about these obnoxious weeds, how I had spent hours picking the black, needle-like burrs out of my socks, off my sons trousers as well as off my husband’s jersey.  The Black-jacks had often ruined a relaxing walk by making me pluck their burrs that had caught on our clothing off, taking care to throw them into the dustbin to prevent further distribution.  Now I was admiring this plant and the very part of it I had begrudged!

My thoughts turned inward a little more as I realized how narrow minded I had become – my passion for conservation and alien plant control, though important and good for our natural world in its own right, this very mindset had choked my appreciation of all creation!

Today,  I dedicate my blog to the weeds of life, each created for a purpose and all to be marveled at!


February 15th, 2010, posted in Uncategorized

I read about the vineyard of the man lacking heart; and see, it was all overgrown with thorns; its surface was covered with nettles; and its stone wall was broken down.
When I saw it, I set my heart on it; I looked and received discipline: A little sleep, a little slumber, A little folding of the hands to rest; and your poverty shall come, a prowler, And your need like an armed man. (Midrash Mishle 24:30-34)

Now this is true and is evident in the Cape Winelands where visitors to this area will view well kept vineyards of varying sizes and the result is excellent produce of table grapes and of course grapes picked to make wine!

In contrast to these weeded fields, our vegetable garden looks like a weed patch from far, however, on closer inspection, you will find carefully planted vegetables, some of which are hidden by weeds, other are surrounded by weeds, why is this? We live on a game reserve and do not use insecticides or herbicides, what grows, grows and what is eaten gets eaten, we share our produce. To reduce the insects getting stuck in during the initial growth stages, we have found leaving the weeds to grow provides a cover for toads & the toads eat a good portion of insects, it also hides the flowers from petal eating beetles and the growth tip from leaf/stem eating insects. We have ladybirds eating the aphids and have noticed an increase in produce per plant!

Although we allow the weeds to grow, we do take care to keep their size reduced, also checking how close they grow to the vegetables, to ensure sufficient sunlight gets to the vegies to photosynthesize.

There is a reason for our vegetable garden having weeds, what’s yours?