No, not the stuff the foolish smoke! The stuff that grows where folks don’t want the stuff to grow.
To the Landscape Garden artist there is only one definition for the word, “weed”…..
A Weed is a Plant Out of Place! That is the definition, the whole definition, and nothing but the definition……to the Landscape Gardener.
In my landscape garden the plants out of place most everywhere are tree seedlings….sugar maples, red maples, elm, Ohio buckeye, buckthorn, box elder, Norway maple, Green Ash, Red Oak, White Oak, American Arborvitae, Japanese Yew, Red Cedar, and so on and so on. Then there are the herbaceous perennials which can be weedy, weedy, weedy no matter what the definition might be.
In my garden I cherish one of these weedies…..the progeny from my Purple Cats Astilbe.
I have an underground irrigation system to water my plant world. I realized early in my gardening life that astilbes demanded a moist environment. I never thought for a moment that meant reliable waterings from an underground irrigation system.
Where I once had one clump of Purple Cats Astilbe, I now have, perhaps, thousands of its seedlings. The color isn’t quite there, but these reliable perennials are as big if a bit more pink that purple, a replica of its parents. They are everywhere, and at the moment, they are in full bloom.
I weed out only those which defy harmony. I know there will be a problem in the future. For each new hundred clumps established each year, what will happen to my grounds in five more years.
I have a very small area of my landscape garden in lawn. Nine minutes worth to be exact. The only other routine demand is managed automatically…..the watering for fifteen minutes a zone, every other day program.
The rest of the grounds is an open door for any and all plant visitors to set up shop……where there is room, however. Many plants are fussy about where they will do their thing. I have been trying to get my ginkgo to produce for years and have succeeded with only two and both are rather moody about growing much.
I have Virginia Creeper growing. Until about August first, mature and happy Virginia grows about three feet a day and in several directions at the same time. I call Virginia weedy, but not a weed. I am the one who decides where Virginia can live and flourish. Yet, pound for pound, no other species has been removed from my property over the past 36 years except perhaps for the exception of an 90 year old American Elm I had removed last Thanksgiving Day weekend.
I find the Creeper a great ground cover in some locations, and an attractive accent in foliage in others. I never let the plant crawl up the trunks of trees, if I can help it. That looks messy.
If one does have grounds fairly well designed naturalistically, there are other “weedies” which make good ground covers more restful to manage…..violets come to mind….cushion and chameleon spurge are good,….
Japanese anemone is bound to be successful despite your moods. In Latin is named, Anemone robustissima. That should tell the interested gardener all that is needed to know. The “issima” part can be translated to mean….”the very, very, very most!”
It the plant were the very, very, very most in height, the plant would likely have been named, Genera “altissima”……referring to its altitude.
You can put it together, dear reader. Expect Anemone robustissima to enjoy its stay in your garden. Fortunately for all, it is a very attractive for a “robustissima”.
There are many plants who do enjoy “taking over” in the grounds. And there are some weeds far worse than others, because no one can control them.
Among such weeds, Campanula rapunculoides leads the list. Another is Goutweed, the socalled perennial Snow on the Mountain. As a large group the grasses, especially lawn grasses can be killers in the perennial garden. That is why timely and proper edging the perennial garden border from the lawn is very important.
Most weeds can be pulled out easily by hand. I have always liked “weeding”. It is so resrfull and uncomplex. One simply reaches out, grabs on to the stem at its nearest to the ground, and pulls.
If the landscape garden is beautiful before weeding, imagine how clean and sharp it will be after weeding.
But, never forget that a weed is a plant out of place if you are a person so fortunate in life to have found the art of landscape gardening.