I Practice Multiple Types of Weeding, Sometimes All At The Same Time

Is weeding in flower beds that are hopefully going to be dug up and expanded soon sort of like dusting the furniture in a house right before you plan to tear down walls for remodeling? No?

Good, because I spent quite a bit of time yesterday weeding in my flower beds, beds I hope will soon be dug up and enlarged significantly with the new garden design.

What else was I supposed to do while I waited for it to rain?

Actually, I weeded because there were weeds and I’m a gardener. It was instinctive, compulsive, necessary. Plus, it immediately made those flower beds look so much nicer and I don’t know when they will be dug up, and I don’t want to look at a weedy mess until then.

There are several types of weeding that gardeners do, including…

Self-inflicted weeding. This is when we are weeding out the "weedlings" of flowers that we purposely planted in our gardens and swore we would deadhead so they didn’t self-sow all over. In my garden, I pulled out plenty of spiderworts (Tradescantia sp.), ox-eye daisies (Leucanthemum vulgare) and perennial sweet peas (Lathyrus latifolius), plus for good measure a few tansy seedlings (Tanacetum vulgare).

To my knowledge, the last time any tansy flowered in my garden was at least back in the late 90’s, so those seeds are quite long-lasting.

Of all those plants, I only wish to keep a few ox-eye daisies, pictured above with some species tulips. The rest can go to… the compost pile.

Faux weeding. We’ve all done faux weeding, admit it! We pull out dandelions and thistle getting very little root, hoping that it will at least slow the plant down. We may even be so bold as to hope that maybe this time it will actually stop those pernicious weeds. But deep down inside us, as deep down inside the ground as those roots still are, we know we’ll see those weeds again, and have to pull them again. It is faux weeding, and gives us false hopes.

Therapeutic weeding. Did I mention how good it felt to get those weeds out of the garden?

Waiting weeding. Ever find yourself standing around waiting for something to happen, and then you see a weed and decide to pull it out? Then you pull out another weed, and another? Then you see a big ol’ thistle so you go get some gloves and maybe a weeding tool or two, and something to throw the weeds into. Next thing you know, you are weeding the garden and have completely forgotten what you were actually waiting on. (For the record, I was waiting for it to rain yesterday.)

Save-yourself-from-embarrassment weeding. At some point, the weeds become so bad that we just have to weed, in case someone should stop by to see our gardens. I have unfortunately been to this point more than once, and I’ll probably be at this point again some day.

I was very close to it the other day, when I knew the garden designer was returning to mark some of the new beds. She had last seen the garden in a more “early spring” state, when there were a few weeds and I could use the excuse, “I’m just getting started on spring clean up, so please excuse the weeds”.

Now here in mid spring, it was to the point that the weeds might indict me as a lazy gardener. I sure didn’t want that, so I ran around and did all kinds of save-yourself-from-embarrassment weeding to make it all look just a little nicer.

Yesterday, I practiced all four kinds of weeding. Self-inflicted weeding, faux weeding, waiting weeding, and save-yourself-from-embarrassment weeding.

Someday, I hope the garden is all under control and I can just occasionally do regular weeding, whatever that is.


  1. I have never thought about it that way but I do all those kinds of weeding too! Funny because it is true:-)

  2. Excellent post, and I thank you, because I always thought you were always on top of your weeding. Now I don't feel so bad. I also practice triage weeding, which is pulling the worst of the weeds (the really tall, almost going to seed ones) because you know you won't get to them all.

  3. Too funny Carol. You've hit the nail on the head. I'm a Faux Weeder and my husband is a Waiting Weeder - he weeds intermittently throughout the day - he always seems to have a handful of little weeds in his hand.

  4. It this an addiction? Do we need to do a weeders intervention?

  5. All so true! I've done all of these kinds of weeding. I'm particularly guilty of faux weeding while waiting weeding ... I'll be waiting to go somewhere or something and I'll be too lazy to go inside and get a tool so I just start yanking and get just the top growth.

    I literally have nightmares about save-yourself-from-embarrassment weeding. I dream that a garden tour is coming and I look in the garden and it's covered in weeds, not edged and generally a mess.

  6. Weeding the beds that will be redone makes a lot of sense. Why leave weeds that might resprout in the new beds? Better to get out as much as you can before they do the work. I'm deep in the middle of self-inflicted weeding, spending most of my time pulling out Lamium seedlings.

  7. I do all of those and sometimes I do "scheduled weeding." I'll actually plan to go out an weed on say Thursday. Then, on Saturday, I'll see some weeds I missed and will be like, "well, it's not in the schedule to weed again until Thursday." So, I'll just wait to weed them Thursday. That happens once in a while then I go back to a lot of Waiting weeding and Therapeutic weeding.

  8. I faux-weed dandelions all the time. I feel like at least I'm preventing them from flowering, going to seed, and giving me more dandelions.

  9. I get caught up in the waiting weeding all the time...

  10. I do mission weeding. There's bishop's weed in my shady patches that is so incidious that I have to dig up everything and inspect it for the littlest bit of a root. And what about the camouflage weeds that imbed themselves into areas where they look like the locals and feel like their productive flowering lookalikes yet turn out to be the biggest footprint in a prime location hog ever. And they sometimes cause me to yank out the good stuff by mistake. What is that? Collateral damage?

  11. I pull a weed every time I step outside, but I just can't bring myself to do it on a regular schedule. I think I got burned out on weeding the first few weeks of Spring ... I keep them out of the flowerbeds, though.

  12. I love your sense of humor. I find myself most often doing the therapeutic weeding but do occasionally do some faux weeding! This was a great laugh for a Monday morning spent in my office instead of the yard. Thanks!

  13. I am always waiting for that time of 'regular weeding'. When you think it might be that time you blink your eyes or turn around and you need to dig in full force. Especilly right after a rain. It makes all the weeds appear all at once.

  14. This is so true, Carol! I'd never thought of this before, but I do all these kinds of weeding. I've even done some "waiting weeding" when all dressed up and ready to leave for some event, then had to go back inside to clean up again:)


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