Benefits of Not Weeding

One of the benefits of not weeding is seeing volunteer petunia seedlings blooming amongst the dried up corn stalks on a beautiful October day.

These petunias are almost exactly the color of the original Wave™ Petunias, giving me a clue as to where they might have come from.

I spotted them yesterday afternoon, as I stood on the edge of the vegetable garden thinking about how someone needs to get busy with cleaning it up.

At the risk of shattering any image that anyone might have about me having neat and tidy raised garden beds at all times, here is what the corn patch looks like now.
You may now resume thinking of me as having a neat and tidy garden, even with this evidence to the contrary. After all, does evidence really matter much these days? I say it's neat, so it must be neat.

These petunias do make a compelling case for not being too rambunctious about weeding, don't they?This is a pink version. (As you can clearly see, so I don't know why I wrote that. I guess it is in case you are viewing this post on a black and white only monitor.)

And here's the light pink version.(See note above about black & white monitors.)

That's mostly henbit growing around it with what looks like a thistle trying to hide nearby. I see you, thistle, your days are numbered.

Some newer gardeners might be confused at this point as to how not weeding can be a good thing, because I have in the past encouraged everyone to embrace weeding for a happier life.

For the most part, weeding is a good thing. Had I kept on top of my weeding I wouldn't be facing this monster weed in that same raised bed with the petunias and dried up corn stalks.I'm going to need some tools to get this out. Maybe a hoe, maybe a shovel, and I definitely will be wearing some heavy gloves. I might even have to take a big swig of iced green tea before I dig into it.

The trick to weeding is to recognize some of the "good" self sowers in the garden and let them be if you like the spot they chose, or move them if you don't. Or weed them out if you have too many, because too many of some plants can also be a bad thing in the garden.

It is nice to know that if you like a plant, you have options.

In my garden, I'm still deciding on spiderwort, Tradescantia sp. It's a good thing on a fall day when it is blooming like this one.It's a bad thing when it is coming up all over in the spring where I don't want it to grow. (Image added to replace the bad images above of weeds, so you leave this post thinking about pretty flowers, not gruesome weeds.)

I guess that's the real secret to weeding. If it is a plant growing where you don't want it to be, embrace weeding or at least transplanting, so you have the garden you want to have.


  1. I've been known to be a bit too enthusiastic about weeding. Alright, it's been called a "scorched earth" policy, and I've inadvertently pulled up Bugbane seedlings. This year I was more careful & I think I've got a couple. Or are they maple seedlings?
    BTW, it's OK if you get a little "Arthur Dent" sometimes.

  2. I saw your tweet and came over to read this, since I am no fan of weeding. I adore planting but weeding, ugh. Sort of like vacuuming, it is never done.
    Your post reminded me of a book I bought because of its title "A Gentle Pleas for Chaos" and now I want to read it.
    The author writes of a move away from "a mania for neatness" in the garden.
    Great post, Terra

  3. It's really all about balance, isn't it? Accepting the garden's imperfections, and the gardener's as well.

  4. Saw your tweet too and came over to check it out. I was worried that I did something wrong when I weeded my flower bed earlier this afternoon. =) Thought maybe I could've saved those little buggers for something. =) When I weed, which isn't a lot, I wait until the weeds get big enough so if they are a plant, I might be able to tell. It's a great excuse for not weeding very often! =)

  5. If you say it often enough, it becomes the truth no matter what reality tells us. Isn't that called truthiness? Your raised beds are neat and weed free, Repeat ad finitum.

    Good deal on the petunias too. Like you, the tradescantia is on probation here.


  6. Sometimes when you weed you just create a blank slate for other weeds to take hold, you know what they say about nature abhoring a vacuum. You also can pull up dormant weed seeds from way down deep where they will get more light and water. I tell myself these things when I run out of other excuses to put off weeding.

  7. Yes, I have been so lucky as to find some seedlings of annuals around my garden this fall too. I think it is fun to find them. This also tells me what kind would probably be easy to start from seed in my garden if I should want a great many of the found seedlings.

  8. I like surprises, too, and have had a few this fall. I also somehow had a thistle growing in a pot with pansies, but thought it was a salvia, and decided to give the pansies back their space, but got a painful surprise, because it was a stinging nettle. One stinging nettle in a pot! How did that happen?

    Carol, I thought of you today as I was yelling at a squirrel to be afraid of me, and not to be so tame, while at the same time remembering I had my camera, and trying to take pictures of it. My neighbor guy across the street smiled and waved. I remembered it was you who had a post about gardeners being eccentric.


  9. I really need to read my posts before sending them. I don't know where I got "thistle" in my previous post. That whole sentence is awkward, too.

    Oh, well. I like your petunias by the way, and my theme for the pics I've been taking of my gardens is, "the good, the bad, and the ugly". So far, I don't think I've shown any in the last two categories online, though. Thanks for showing yours. :o)

  10. What a sweet lil petunia. I'm abandoning weeding this year in favor of smothering with newspapers a la lasanga gardening. I don't think it will get rid of everything though. Someone should invent a weeding Rhoomba for the garden.

  11. Ha! You just made me feel a LOT better! :-) There are times when I feel like weeding and there are times when I don't. And right now, I'm about finished with it for the season! (I did demolish a few weeds today as I planted bulbs.)
    I pinched myself again this Spring when I noticed my impatiens had self-seeded for the second year in a row!! FYI: Tradescantia is off-limits in any of my gardens forever. It was way too much of a "good thing" long ago. :-)

  12. I know you're not going to believe this , in fact I'd strongly recommend you swallow an anti-disbelief tab before reading further .
    I actually tried growing a thistle!
    Why? Because I'd never seen one before except in picture books and on Scottish motifs. Blame it on our hot, humid climate, I suppose. This one probably came with a car-load of plants I'd bought from a nursery up in the mountains. I was so excited on seeing this exotic(to me at least) plant that I couldnt wait to see it bloom. I couldnt really picture those quirky looking flowers. But I think our summer sun grilled it before the monsoons drowned it.
    Okay, you can stop rolling on the floor now. And I'll pretend I didnt hear you laughing. But this really, really happened.
    ; )
    Well, touch-me-nots (mimosa pudica) are horrible weeds here. So your thistles are exotic for me.

  13. I seem to go through periods of weeding with wild abandon, and much longer periods of abstaining. I think I need to be more judicious in weeding to ensure some happy accidents such as you experienced with your volunteer petunias. Better sit and drink at least a full glass of iced tea before you tackle that nasty thistle! :-)

  14. This post speaks my lingo! I'm not much for weeding, since so many interesting volunteers come up when you least expect it. Now I feel vindicated in my laziness er, stance on not weeding! ;-)

  15. I get tickled any time I see a plant that self seeded. I had a petunia grow and bloom in a crack in our drive way this year!

  16. My husband bought me a spiderwort on the weekend. It has just been planted.


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