thinking about the weeds in my garden

back to this endlessly fascinating subject ... using richard mabey's definition of a weed being a plant in the wrong place. this definition allows for subjectivity - i decide which plants in my garden are weeds!

there are also official lists of weeds in a particular region, lists compiled by experts in botany and ecology. these listings take a broad view of the threats posed by weeds to biodiversity, and the economic and social impacts of their spread. enter weeds australia - a national government portal for identifying and reporting weeds in any region of australia.

i can now think about the weeds in my garden as members of 4 distinct categories:
1. plants that i don't want in my garden.
2. plants that i don't want but are so persistent they're here to stay.
3. plants that are officially designated as weeds that i don't want in my garden.
4. plants that are officially designated as weeds that i don't mind growing in my garden - and didn't know till now that they were considered dangerous weeds!

... this is a think in progress.


  1. My poor garden is getting over-run with all four categories at the moment, due to a prolapsed lumbar disc meaning I can't weed. I've been only able to pull the odd weed or two at a time for the past 3 weeks, and the novelty wore off long ago!
    However, I digress :-)
    Oxalis is one of those impossible-to-eradicate weeds in New Zealand, yet seems to be considered a desirable plant in colder climates where its spread is more easily controlled.
    At my previous home I was sick of the sight of borage. I bought one. It was absolutely beautiful. And then its spawning of multitudes became reminiscent of alien horror movies.
    Fennel, also, is impossible here to be rid of once you've had a single plant.
    Still, I suppose there are far uglier "weeds' than these.

  2. The endless 'wet' season up here means I have all four catgories of weeds thriving very nicely thank you!

    Things have popped up around my property that I've never ever seen before! I call them 'weeds' but they're probably some form of native plant that I never knew existed. Such an interesting topic.

  3. And then there are plants (and animals) that are fine in their own country but become weeds when displaced.

  4. dear friends, thanks for contributing to this which is possibly becoming my new favourite garden topic.

    hi lynne, i once filled a whole skip with dug up oxalis including lots of soil around the plants.. since then it hasn't dominated but still appears. i have borage too but have so far managed to avoid fennel.

    hi bernie, i'm not surprised strange weeds are appearing in your garden because they are attracted by disturbed or bare ground. and your poor garden certainly got disturbed recently ...

    hi hermes, yes this topic could be broadened to animals too - our worst ones here could be rabbits and cane toads.

    cheers, catmint

  5. It's sounds like you are adapting to them. You know what they say about lemons? Perhaps the same can work with weeds? I'm smiling as I type this as it is a thought to ponder.

  6. So what about noxious weeds? I just sort of like saying that. It makes them sound so bad, which they are. Noxious weeds should be pulled. I have left some "weeds" growing in my garden. I definitely have weeds that fit all of your categories. Some are even old fashioned herbs with medicinal properties.

  7. Catmint I wonder what happened to your skip of Oxalis? Taken over a valley somewhere?? Very grateful to the Oxalis in my garden, when the rain eventually comes, the whole garden turns lush. And green. With flowers ;~)

  8. Hi Catmint. My think-in-progress is, "What am I going to do about those moles that are running rampant in my front yard? (tunnels and mounds) I didn't invite them! :-)

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  10. hi tina, thanks for the thought to ponder. i'm smiling too.

    hi tvf, yes i agree - there are weeds and then there are noxious weeds - noxious is a wonderful word to say -it sound like its meaning!

    hi diana, thank you for your very thought provoking comment. the skip contents would go to landfill - which i guess is selfishly just transferring the problem to the next generation. you've made friends with it but i think there are different forms?

    hi sg, what a problem - thinking about it is one thing - what to do about it is a puzzle - like with determined weeds there is no easy answer.
    the only mole i have ever known is in wind and the willows - i have never even seen a mole at the zoo.
    cheers, catmint

  11. Ahhhh endlessly controversial and fascinating subject.

    Don't get all soft hearted on weeds. I fell in love with the apricot colored blooms on the sturdy scarlet pimpernel. I learned its history and folk lore, and I let it set seed. It is now overpowering all my thymes, native annuals, etc. HORRIBLE.

    Get a bit hard hearted.

    Sending good wishes to you,

    Sharon Lovejoy Writes from Sunflower House and a Little Green Island

  12. Agree with Bernie, our hot wet season now, weeds are having a field day in our garden! I hate weeding, its a very time consuming but have no choice but to do it sooner or later..but better sooner or else the garden plants will be chocked to death by them weeds!

  13. Ah, weeds, nothing better on a nice warm day getting into the borders and ridding them of weeds, sheer bliss. Once upon a time Myra and I when very young cultivated the weeds in the garden of our first house. Our next door neighbour on a visit told us in a very, I am sorry to be telling you this manner, but I think those are weeds. Well we decided not to believe her. (she was of course correct.) Thanks for your recent visit to aberdeengardening.

  14. Hey, what happened to your new post, about the 10 weeds you have in your garden? Lol, I clicked on that straightaway, as I am pretty sure I could match you and raise you 10! :)


  15. Dear Catmint, I will join you in category 2 and 4. Leaning to live with and manage these plants as best I can is about the best I able to do. I hope you are healing well! No more accidents!

  16. hi sharon, lovely to hear from you - good advice about being tough minded. they can be seductive but i agree - they're evil.

    hi p3c, yes i have learned that - if you let them go there'll just be more trouble later.

    hi carol, wise words but i guess it's about finding the balance - minimizing weeds as much as possible and accepting they won't disappear.

    cheers, cm

  17. hi alastair, thanks for the visit. i did the same when i was a youngish inexperienced gardener, i really worried my poor neighbours.

    dear ali, i look forward to ongoing sharing of weed experiences. hope to finish writing it soon.

    cheers, cm

  18. haha as you know I wrote an entire post about weeds! Aside from squirrels, my ultra arch nemesis, wild onions and ivy are my foes!


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