The Will to Live

Garfield (the cartoon, not the president) once demonstrated the difference between weeds and flowers.  He stomped ferociously on both; unsurprisingly, the flower ended up broken and crumpled, but the weed, if possible, was even more tenacious for the abuse.  "Weeds," he concluded, "have a greater will to live."

Being a bit less cynical than he, I always seem to find that every living thing has an amazing and powerful will to live.  Here are a few recent examples from my humble patch of earth:

Miracle Lettuce

A head of lettuce growing from a plant I discarded last year after it bolted.  Growing through a 1/4" aeration hole in my compost ball.  Growing after having endured the worst winter in Maryland history.


The gooseberry and currant vines I planted last spring from sticks, ignored, thought had died, gave up on and even mowed over (it's true -- I'm horribly forgetful) are back with a vengeance, and even bearing fruit.  Now I just have to figure out which is which.


Bronze fennel (alas, it's only decorative, not edible; I discovered that after trying to harvest it last year!)  Probably a mistake to let it go to seed, but somehow I thought that SIX AND A HALF FEET OF SNOW might have dampened its enthusiasm.

War of the Roses

In this photo, you may or may not be able to see the two trellis attempts that have been swallowed by the rosebush monster.  However, you can certainly see that the lamb's ears and sundrops are keeping their distance.


Assorted lettuces I planted from assorted seed that was between 2 and 6 years old.


Nasturtiums I didn't plant.  They must have re-seeded themselves.  Way to go, guys!

Volunteers of America

Ditto for these tomatoes; I yanked out half a dozen before I realized what they were.  I'm not sure whether I planted heirlooms or hybrids last year, so there's the possibility they won't fruit, but I figure they at least deserve a chance!

Sickly Children

By contrast, these pale, wan things are the tomatoes I intentionally planted, watered and fretted over for several months.  We'll see which are more prolific, but I have my suspicions!

It's interesting, the way your best-laid plans may or may not pan out, but you can always count on pleasant surprises from the earth.

Over View

An overview of Phase I: before you express your admiration, know that the bottom half is entirely herbs, and herbs are most correctly defined as weeds for which someone has been able to find a use.  The lemon balm, in particular, is out of control, even after some ruthless pruning earlier in the spring -- it's surrounding the tarragon, which seems undaunted nonetheless.

Phase II, which I started today, involves summer vegetables -- peppers, tomatoes, beans and squash.  Stay tuned.

This post brought to you by Kirsten, whose profound and moving thoughts in her garden inspired my rather banal update.  Lylas!