Towards revisioning and appreciating “ruderal” (abandoned) urban landscapes

This is a fascinating and mind-opening article for anyone dealing with “weeds.” I’ve reblogged Ann’s post, because I appreciate her comments, but the rest of the article requires a click thru. I will say that my research has led to the same conclusion about “invasives” having medicinal properties. Japanese Knotweed, for example, is almost as difficult to get rid of as Lyme Disease … and lo and behold, Japanese Knotweed tends to “invade” Lyme endemic areas. Its resveratrol offers one of the most helpful remedies for Lyme Disease — in part due to the biochemistry, but, I believe, also due to the tough character of the plant, which mimics Lyme’s ability to take hold and overwhelm.

Of course, I type this after a morning spent observing our yard, hand removing all traces of garlic mustard and plucking the yellow dandelion flowers before they become thousands of dandelion seeds — and before I go dig up dandelions from my asparagus bed. I appreciate dandelions — in the wild section of the yard. Meanwhile, I’ve enjoyed the contemplative observation of various ecosystems in our yard, as the dandelion plucking forces me to look carefully at what’s growing where — and to ponder why. “Weeds” tell us a lot about soil conditions, and they help remedy imbalances. Nature also works in trades. I plant many flowers I do want in exchange for removing the dandelion heads before they go to seed. Watching this quasi-urban, quasi-industrial, quasi-suburban yard transform tickles me to no end. Last week, a yard helper noted that the scary looking “weeds” I meant to pull were peonies. Who knows what beauty lurks in unfamiliar forms and unusual locations?

8 responses to this post.

  1. as i commented on ann’s original post, i saw that you’ve reposted. couldn’t help but provide a garlic mustard recipe for any parties interested in EATING this nutritious prevalent one: http://rainbowbridgetotheheart.com/2014/04/wild-garlic-mustard-pesto-with-a-bite/ : Note: this pesto is spicier than your average italian pesto!

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    • Thanks! David and I used to love garlic mustard pesto. We OD’d on it in 2011, and we really haven’t been able to stomach even the smell of it since. I actually sniffed it in our yard before it sprouted and felt like throwing up! It is nutritious to a certain point, but I heard it has trace amounts of cyanide in it. Perhaps we have already eaten our lifetime fill.

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  2. Is the Japanese “knotweed” the same as “bindweed” which is used to boost testosterone?

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    • No, I don’t think so. Bindweed is related to morning glories. I had no idea it was good for testosterone. We have a healthy crop of it that I’ll be soft killing with Mexican Mint Marigolds. That stuff used to give me nightmares last summer!

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  3. Posted by Raven on May 3, 2014 at 7:32 pm

    I am reminded of an incident here in Montana over the ox-eye daisy, determined to be a noxious weed by all the weed experts. The state spends millions of dollars spraying every roadside berm with pesticides to rid us of these beautiful wlldflowers because they are harmful to deer and cause kidney failure, so they claim. We are all supposed to ignore the fact that the pesticide they use by the truckload on the grasses the deer do like to eat doesn’t hurt them, but in all my years here I have never seen a deer eat these daisies, and now they avoid the toxic grasses as well, because when it comes to survival, wild animals are way smarter than humans.

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