Our garden is pretty pitiful right now. I blame it on rabbits, and hubris, and life’s unforeseen interruptions. There’s still time for us to get it together. We feel lucky that we’re not in danger of starving if we never do (oh, to live in a time of grocery stores and farmers markets).
On the other hand, we’ve recently had a small weed triumph. Not in the category of weed control (they certainly have the upper hand around here), but in the category of better living through curiosity.
For the second year in a row we’ve had little seedlings come up in random places with big first leaves that look a little like cucumber leaves.
Last year, we weeded them out, but this year one came up in a patch of motherwort just south of our house. Since motherwort is a weed itself (albeit one I pardon because my honeybees like it so much) I let this mysterious seedling keep growing where it was, wondering what it would become. I thought maybe some kind of squash hybrid from a garden long past.
When it sent up a six foot tall spike I gave up on the squash idea, and we figured it was another one of those nasty weeds that has learned to compete in the cornfields (shout out to you, velvet leaf, pigweed and the rest of the gang). But we still couldn’t find it in our weed books, and it hadn’t yet flowered, so we kept letting it grow, figuring even if it was something awful we could still take it out before it produced seed. We were still too curious about what it was up to, we couldn’t stop it yet.
And then it flowered. And became obvious. Hollyhocks. Not a weed at all (at least in our minds), just an old garden escapee, waiting for another shot. We’ll collect seed from it this year, and plant hollyhocks all along the shed, where its huge white flowers will be set off by the red walls.
Oh, and my honeybees seem to like it, too.