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Appreciating weeds

Lots of people hate dandelions, quackgrass, blackberries and all those other thugs that crowd in where they aren't wanted. But you don't have to hate something to set some limits, in fact appreciating them while you haul them out of the ground is, I think, a better option.

Think of plants as the skin of the earth. When we skin our knees, our bodies make a quick covering, a scab. The fast growing, spreading plants that earn the name weeds are something like a scab for the bare ground that's a wound, a baring of the soil to heat and dry air that can destroy the subtle processes within it. The weeds are just doing their job.

And many weeds can be beneficial in the right circumstances. Those annoying rhizomes of quackgrass, for instance, are quite nutritious and have been used, dried and ground, to make a kind of bread. The tips are so smooth you can eat them as is, straight out of the ground. I don't think I'd ever go to the trouble of drying the rest of the root, though it's supposed to be a good diuretic.

Dandelions, of course, have lots of herbal goodness. Even blackberries, as a flower essence, help us get started on new projects. Butterflies like the flowers as well.

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