An Ode to December Weeds
I don't have a nice tidy city garden. Mine is in rural Sonoma - in that Urban Wildlife Interface that we are all learning about. It used to be pasture land, but goats or sheep were not a practical option for us, which leaves me slowly working on taming the hillside of weeds. In summer, the clay is rock hard, the weeds are mature, and weeding is tedious. But once it rains? What a difference! In December most of those weeds are babies, barely holding on to the soil, and I can actually get my weeding tools down into the softened clay. So, yes, December can be a crazy month, but if you can, do yourself a favor and go after those emerging weeds.
There's an expression: "Nature abhors a vacuum" - postulated by Aristotle as "horror vacui", so it's been around awhile - but it reflects the observation that nature fills blank spaces. I've come to learn that this is oh so true when it comes to weeds... it seems that every time I try to eliminate a particular weed another type takes its place. Sadly, often for the worse.
But come this winter's rains I have discovered that the dried hulks of those RMT bodies pull right out of the wet clay, long skinny tap root and all, with barely a tug... and some of them are already starting to grow new leaves! Oh yes! And I sing to an ode to December weeding.
So... It's December and I'm writing an article on weeds? Enter Kim, who is one of the two MGs who we all have to thank for being the technical wizards behind the scene that both put these articles onto our website for us and add the formatting touches that make them look their best. Kim basically challenged me to make a wreath out of weeds! Game on! But I can't use the newly sprouted baby weeds I've been pulling from that soft, wet clay, as they are green and quickly lose their freshness. What to do? And then the ah-ha moment... I have a lot of RMT and its stems are woody!
A whole lot of RMT and a ring of chicken wire later... we present a weed wreath for the holidays! What do you think of it? (It's no match for Sunday with Sue's beautiful wreath, but it's perfect for my rural Sonoma front door.)
Happy Holidays to all!
Penny Fink, Master Gardener, UC Master Gardener Program of Sonoma County, December 2018