I often find that my garden is not only a source of eternal delight (normally followed shortly by frustration, but that is another article) but of eternal enlightenment. I am fairly certain, in between saving the world from evil and ignorance and making great speeches with timelessly quotable material, the great men and women of history were gardeners.
Where else would these people have gained all of their wisdom and insight but in a garden? Ok, so there is books, life experience and just plain old genius, but beyond that, where else but a garden?
I am reminded of this when pulling quackgrass. Yes, that insidious, nightmarish weed that can take over a flower bed faster than Tiger Woods can move through a sorority. That quackgrass. There is a Tao in quackgrass. And here you thought it was just a weed.
Just a weed! I shout from my quackgrass infested flower bed. This is a lesson. It is an opportunity to learn a great secret that my garden wants to whisper to me but can only speak in botanical octaves. Â My garden, she speaks to me in weed (not the kind you smoke, though the enlightenment can sometimes seem to be the same).
On hands and knees with fingers reaching, I find the blades of quackgrass and revel in the wisdom.
Lesson number One — All quackgrass is connected. Looking at a large bed of it, you would not think so and pull at a blade quickly, and they do not seem connected at all. But it is. Deep and low, the roots bedevil through the soil, leaving new quackgrass in its wake.
Lesson Number Two — Impatience is quackgrass’ friend. Ripping quickly and angrily at quackgrass will not make it go away. As a matter of fact, it will only bring you sorrow — in the form of more quackgrass. The best approach to quackgrass is a slow, steady pressure starting at the base of the grass. One that will reveal to us the root of the quackgrass and show us how it is connected to the others in the flower bed (see lesson number one).
Lesson Number Three — Conquering your quackgrass requires focus and persistence. Quackgrass cannot be eliminated simply by randomly pulling blades. Nor can you pull only a few blades of quack grass at a time. You must be determined. You must be methodical. Pull (slowly — see lesson number two) search pull search pull. One square foot at a time until it has been eliminated from your life.
Lesson Number Four Â — Quackgrass will come back. No matter how often and well you deal with your quackgrass, it will come back. It is not a reflection on how well you as a gardener dealt with it the first time, it is simply a fact of life (see lesson number three). Consider it a reminder of the Tao of quackgrass.