Weeder's knee pads

The Weeder

             At Powell Gardens, weeds are always there, so I am always there, between the rows, at the roots of roses, along the fence. 
             What do weeds like best?  Disturbed land.  What do gardeners do?  Disturb land.  Then they plant what will produce fruit, vegetable, beauty.  I protect the tomato, the basil, the sedum and hydrangea by destroying their enemies, which have become my enemy.
            Lawless plants—jimson weed, pokeweed, Queen Anne’s Lace—took over my grandfather’s corral when he sold his horses and went into the nursing home. 
             Mother’s garden grew to a ruin of redbud sprouts, violets, crab grass and dock after her stroke. 
             Weeds infiltrate every crack of sidewalk, sprout from every hole the squirrels dig in the lawn, crowd the tulip leaves.  Weeds imitate their legitimate counterparts in shape, size, color and seed. 
             A battlefield will cover itself in red poppies, a hearty and vivid weed that patterns itself after bloodshed.  I was in Viet Nam, and I loathe jungle profusion.
            Now, I am vigilant.  A weed vigilante.  Each Saturday, I drive from Kansas City to spend four hours on my knees.  I don’t see hibiscus, hosta, periwinkle or switch grass, only the weeds that will spoil their beauty.  You might see a rainbow of color, shapeliness, symmetry, and design.  You won’t see me, but everything you see is a result of my work.  I am a freedom fighter:  I free disturbed earth from the enemy.

"The Weeder" first appeared in Rougarou




Seed packet

Hand rake

Garden knee pads


Flash of red paint

Pepper plant


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