Urban Wildflowers (aka weeds)

Those of you who spend your summers resolutely trying to eradicate every last weed in your carefully manicured lawns and gardens may be offended by this post and will accuse me of romanticizing the enemy. But even the most disregarded plants may have at least one quality we can admire.

As I was walking through some newly subdivided land last night I couldn’t help appreciating the sunflowers that had sprung up on bare, dry, sun-baked lots. It’s amazing that they can bloom in the heat of the summer after everything else has shriveled and wilted.

I must admit that I am also sentimental about dandelions. Don’t get me wrong—I don’t want a yardful of them. But when I see the first dandelions in the spring, I remember the dandelion bouquets my children brought to me in their baby hands with the words, “I picked these for you, Mommy.”

That’s not all. Even though we doggedly tried to rid our Boise garden of morning glory, if I can put myself in a child-like frame of mind (and momentarily forget that a morning glory seed can sprout after living dormant for twenty years), I  see the morning glory blossoms as fairy dresses scattered across the grass.

Then there’s tumble mustard, a plant that grows along the ditch banks and open areas.  It’s considered a pest, but it can be impressive with hundreds of tiny yellow blossoms on a circular plant that is sometimes four feet in diameter.

I am also partial to the deep reddish-purple blossoms of the burgundy hound’s tongue that seems to grow near every ditch and stream in Idaho. What a shame that it is poisonous, evil-smelling, and can cause rashes.

Like all of you, I’ll continue to dig dandelions and spray morning glory, but occasionally I would like to step back from this modern war on weeds and see whatever glory is there to behold.

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About Judy Grigg Hansen
I write poetry and nonfiction, and I am passionate about the people, places, and wildflowers of Idaho and the Northwest.

One Response to Urban Wildflowers (aka weeds)

  1. Ann Babbel says:

    Next time I walk my dog, or just stroll around my yard–I’m wearing my “Judy glasses!” ann

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