Urban Garden Denver Blog

Are the weeds winning?

Lavender and Bindweed

True confessions time for the garden blog. I definitely struggle with weeds in my garden. I tend to keep up on the weeding in the spring through early summer. In a “normal” year by mid-July I’m struggling to have more flowers than weeds, at least that’s how it seems. This year it feels like I’ve lost the weed war a month early. A heavy rain last weekend, which watered both the flowers and weeds, combined with a busier-than-usual few weeks of family and work responsibilities, has taken its toll. The good news, is the perennials are looking great — except a few of them that are being strangled by weeds.

Since my yard is fairly small, I try to emphasize 15 minute bursts of weeding while I’m grilling something for dinner. This works pretty well, at least for the flower beds around the patio. If I get too into the weeding and stray into the front yard, I run the risk of getting distracted and burning dinner. 

I have an amazing variety of weeds in my garden, but the two peskiest (in my opinion) are sprouted elm seeds and bindweed. We have two large Siberian Elms in our yard, and they release millions of seeds each spring. The sprouts are easy to dig up, but since they sprout everywhere in the garden, they are a pain.

Siberian Elm seedlings amongst the Verbena

However, nothing is as bad as bindweed. My main flower beds in the front and side yard have escaped this plague, but the back section of my yard is infested. About 5 years ago, it got so bad that I decided I had to redo the whole section. In the spring I dug out everything and started over. I dug deeply and got as many roots as possible. I planted a few flowers the first year and weeded diligently, I was determined to win over the bindweed. Now I’m not sure it is possible. I did some research on bindweed and learned that a small piece of root or a seed can survive for decades. It’s one hardy and fertile pest!

With weeding it’s all about the roots. If you work too quickly, you break off the top of the weed, the garden looks good for a while but the root is still there. In my mind, bindweed is analogous to bitterness in our soul. We can dress up the surface of our lives, but if we have a root of bitterness, it will resurface eventually.

I hope I am a little more self-aware on my “soul weeding” than in my garden, because I admit that sometimes I just pull out clumps of bindweed, trying to get rid of the surface problem, because I’m not sure I ever will get rid of the roots.

Bindweed in Poppy and Iris bed

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