Weeds! Don’t they just love this time of year? They grow and they grow and they grow, like the proverbial beanstalk. So, last weekend, I decided it was time to do battle. One of our smaller rose bushes was rapidly disappearing behind the wilderness that passes for our front border. Most of the invaders came out without difficulty. They were the sort that depend on sheer numbers to defeat you. However, there were two or three large dandelions that put up condsiderable resistance to removal and ultimately won their way. Their return is as certain as something out of Friday the 13th, though perhaps less sinister.
In the midst of the wilderness, I found several slugs and snails, some woodlice, some ants and a couple of spiders. The slugs and snails are the reason we grow weeds instead of lupins. Weeds are actually a whole lot easier to grow. What’s more, some of them are quite pretty, like the forget-me-nots, for instance. Weeds are also resistant to just about every bug you care to mention and they are extremely good at propagating themselves. And this, of course, is the secret of their success. The weeds are clever. Not that they know this. Or, if they do, they don’t care. All they are interested in is growing with reckless abandon wherever they should happen to find themselves. The weeds are cool.
I was at a church service a couple of weeks ago where this very point was made. The leader quoted from this book. I have no memory of the exact words because I only heard them once, but the essential point was that weeds grow without thought or effort or worry or even any sense of propriety. They just get on with it, which is why my lawn looks like this:
Not much use if you like to play bowls or croquet, but wonderful for making daisy chains. And so much more colourful than grass! I love them!
Meanwhile, the hedgerows are also bursting with colour and life at the moment. All the rain we had over the winter has made them more lush than ever. For example, I found some nettles on Saturday that were as tall as or taller than me:
On Sunday afternoon, we found some orchids springing up on the side of a hill:
Then, yesterday afternoon, making my usual detour back from the pharmacy, I found these:
They may not have quite the splendour of my ornamental roses, but they have their own wild, reckless and even intricate beauty. In one case, they also hold the promise of some delicious fruit. In the Bible, they are often likened to the enemy, for obvious reasons. But they also make a very good parable of God’s kingdom. They are like the mustard seed that grows big enough to provide a home to the birds. They are like the yeast that spreads throughout the whole dough. They get everywhere and they provide many good things – pollen, nectar, fruit, seeds, sap, shelter… Just as God’s people are asked to do.
‘Consider how the wildflowers grow. They neither labour nor spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendour was dressed like one of these…’ (Luke 12:27)
Weeds are cool.