So there I was—
(all good stories start like this)
—pulling weeds from the area around the walkway around the garage. The east side of the walkway is cultivated: tulips (that need to have their bulbs pulled) and sunflowers (three feet high and rising) surrounded by wood chips. The west side has a row of new strawberry plants. The north side—the short leg of the "L" of the walkway"—is something different.
That area was just an area of clay catastrophe—blighted dirt that had been disturbed by installing the walkway. Some of the fill dirt around the house is mean stuff that resists the urge to become a part of the cycle of life. I didn't really have a plan for it, but to make it look better. Then when I got the milkweed seeds in the mail (Garden planning 2021, 3), I made the snap decision that that location would be a good place to anchor a butterfly garden. I had seeds, the dirt was there—hey presto, it's a match.
That's as far as planning—"planning"—got. Some seeds needed time in the refrigerator to cold stratify before planting. Those are on the deck or basement in jiffy pots now. The seeds that could be planted immediately got planted ("planted"). Really I just took those seeds and threw them around in a general area where I thought they should generally go. Hey—that's how nature does it, OK? If I'm going to get wildflowers and wild weeds, I'm going to go wild myself.
That was March. Now it's May. There are things growing in that milkweed area now. The problem is that I don't know which ones they are. (There are also some cosmos and marigolds growing there, but I recognize those and they're actually in some regular pattern, which I had to do because nature doesn't have a method for them, OK?)
I suppose I could leave it at that. Milkweeds are weeds—it's right there in the name—but they're my weeds. Like a maniac, I paid money for these weeds, so I want to see them succeed.
So there I was—pulling weeds from around the weeds.
I recognize the clover and the crabgrass—out they go, slowly and steadily. Walk by, pick a few out, dispose of them. Even though they're easy to identify, they play an optical trick on me. They're obvious, but somehow they're invisible unless you slow way, way down. Otherwise, the green blends into green on a quick scan. Slow down, see dozens of weeds where there didn't seem to be any before, and pull.
OK, great—not many of those weeds left. The remaining plants, other than the marigolds and cosmos, are definitely weeds. But are they my weeds? I don't know. I can't identify the individual plants, especially at this early lifecycle stage, so I categorize them by location. Some of them I planted all in one area—so I've got that one group sorted out. The rest? I see a few of one kind of leaf or stem-leaf pattern here and there around the walkway, but nowhere else in the yard, and I don't recognize the plant, so I assume those must be mine. It's the best I can do.
Maybe when they get larger they'll be easier to identify. Until then, I'm weeding and watering them. Give 'em the good treatment to justify the effort of researching and buying them. Maybe next year, be a little more observant.