I always start with a relatively weed-free garden, then as the season progresses and things are up and growing, the weeds make a strong comeback. I read about a gardener who doesn’t bother much with weeding once her plants are knee-high or taller. Her reasoning is sound – tall plants prevent sunlight from reaching the weeds below and a bunch of tall plants crowd out any chance of weeds taking over – but the reality of it happening is flawed.
Weeds have a magnificent way of surviving no matter what we do to them. I think purslane (Portulaca oleracea) would survive a nuclear blast. Common lambsquarters (Chenopodium album) loves rich soil so much that it doesn’t need an invitation to sprout in every new flower bed and vegetable patch I prepare. Yarrow (Achillea millefolium), a common perennial weed, with its underground creeping stems doesn’t care in the least about what it’s creeping up on. Let Canadian thistle (Cirsium arvense) get established and you might have to dig 20 feet down to find its taproot. What will you dig that out with, eh?
It’s all a part of growing stuff isn’t it? You could stop gardening altogether and let the weeds take over. I have three hosta beds that I’ve neglected all summer, I had plans of transplanting everything to a new home, but then I’d just have to worry about weeding that area too. It seems to me that when left to their own accord, both weeds and what we grow as ornamentals get along together just fine. We’re the ones who don’t like their living arrangements.
(Click on the photos for a larger view.)