Last week I had the pleasure of visiting a private garden on three acres, south…
Darwin wrote about plant struggle for survival –
This past June here in the NE provided a great deal of rain. It kept pouring down for what seemed days and days. Little sun appeared.
What grew in the garden, without bounds it seems, were weeds.
I have never seen such a vast number of weeds which took over so much of my garden. I spent what seemed several weeks just weeding.
Dealing with weeds is an important way to understand not only gardening but ecology as well.
In the book Darwin’s Backyard: How Small Experiments Led to a Big Theory the author James T. Costa writes about Darwin’s many experiments with plants.
Weeds like all plants are trying to survive. We humans call these plants ‘weeds’ which legitimizes and encourages treating them like an enemy that must be crushed.
Costa writes, “What seems an exuberance of vegetation with its flitting and creepy-crawly denizens, unruly enough to strike terror into the heart of gardeners whose taste favor the manicured has in fact a certain order or underlying structure in Darwin’s eyes.”
This ‘struggle for existence’ that Darwin explored in his work could well be the story of the weed.
Costa writes, “When we observe nature we often miss the struggle, seeing only peace and harmony, and mistake this for the natural condition of the living world.”
Perhaps that is a lesson that gardeners learn only too quickly. The peace and harmony we search for in the garden is really a state we impose on the garden.
The garden is a place where plants struggle to survive. Some make it while others do not.