Some people, if they knew the truth about me, would probably try to have me committed to the nearest mental institution. Several years ago we moved from our huge 2 story Victorian home with its substantial yard. I had devoted years of work to my garden with all the perennial beds, herb garden, rose bed and my “natural” lawn with its treasure chest of common weeds that provided me with a bounty of herbal delights. My husband was responsible for the mowing and I took care of all other gardening which to me was not work but a joyful pastime. But as we got older and he became more disabled, the huge house with the large utility bills and upkeep and yard with its demands became too difficult to maintain and we decided we needed to downsize. We sold the house and moved into a lovely triplex with a beautiful lawn surrounding us on 3 sides and a tiny but manageable private backyard.
Like idiots we ended up moving in the middle of the snowiest February recorded in the past 50 years. After a couple of months to settle in I decided that I was pleased with the change. But then Spring arrived and I realized that I was going to make a major change in my life. I was no longer going to be able to step out my back door with my bucket in hand and stroll through my yard and pick the major portion of the herbs necessary to make many of my products. The dandelion, chickweed, boneset, red clover, milk thistle, stinging nettles, shepherd’s purse, coltsfoot, burdock, eyebright- had all been eradicated from our yard because someone’s idea of a lawn is a perfectly maintained green expanse of Ky. Bluegrass, not marred, nor broken by weeds. This was a disaster!
As that first Spring and Summer passed I would enviously look at some of the neighbor’s yards so blessedly full of the unruly drifts of puffy dandelions, noxious spreading chickweed and the spikes of plantain that reach up over the grass to let you know it is time to mow. Finally I knew what I had to do. I had to plant weeds! I would cagily take my dog out for walks in the evening as the light was fading and “borrow” the puffy seedpods of the neighbors dandelions and break off the seed producing spikes from their mature common plantain. Thankfully I don’t think anyone ever saw me while out on these hunting trips and no one ever asked me what I was doing. It would be difficult to explain. But this is my third summer in our triplex and I am happy to announce that I have a glorious yard full of carefully stolen weeds.