Rosewheat Weeds

A rose plant in a field of wheat is a weed. A wheat plant in a field of roses is a weed – JD Boatwood

This makes a reasonable amount of sense but not totally. To me it’s saying that if you are where you are not wanted and you stand out, you are considered a weed, even a rose which is normally an admired object. I will just quickly define weed. A weed in this case I think is something that is unwanted. In real life, I believe weeds usually grow fast, spread out and multiply quickly and take root in far away places thanks to nature, the wind, bird droppings etc. They generally serve no useful purpose to man, (unless we are aware of all possible properties), such as looking or smelling beautiful or being edible. Therefore they fail the beautiful/useful test and are generally discarded. I am no stranger to weeding, in fact that is the only kind of gardening I do and I have to do a lot of it! I also know next to nothing about plants and occasionally I unfortunately pull out something that was planted specially years ago because I don’t recognise it or I have grabbed it along with other weeds in my zeal. I just want to state my little theory on weeding. I like the expression that ‘your greatest strength is your greatest weakness’ and I can see that with weeds. For example when I am pulling a fairly strong weed like Morning Glory, one tug removes a large amount because it does not break. I an conquer it, therefore it is weak. The ‘weak’ weeds on the other hand, break immediately and I have to pull many times though not as hard. They are therefore harder to remove and in effect conquer me. It is hard to get every last piece. So for that weed it’s ‘weakness’ is its strength.

Anyway I digress. Back to the quote. JD Boatwood believes that even a rose bush will be unwanted if it grows in a field of wheat. But that’s not necessarily so. It depends on what you are doing with that wheat! If you are ploughing it up with big machines that cannot tell the difference and may churn up the rose thorns with the wheat, yup it’s not really going to be appreciated if they can’t be separated. But if people are picking that wheat by hand they might comes across the rose, stop to take a minute to smell it, (haha) and be very glad that it is still there. It no longer satisfies the criteria of being unwanted and therefore is not a ‘weed’ by the definition I gave above.

Likewise that wheat plant in a field of roses may warm the heart of the rose gardener. They might take time to chew a small kernel and be transported back to some lovely childhood memory. They may be happy to see that wheat there. However if they are on a mission to cut the roses to take to market to sell, they may be cross that earthly nutrients and space have gone to this wheat plant and pull it up on sight. So again it depends who is watching and judging the plant.

Does JD Boatwood judge those plants to be weeds just because they stand out? Perhaps what he is really saying that we should take a closer look at the things that stand out, because no one usually calls a rose or wheat a weed. One is beautiful, the other useful. Maybe he is defending weeds the world over and hopes that none are pulled up because they each serve a purpose; rose, what or otherwise.

I keep certain weeds because I have worked out that they are holding the soil together on the hill and that without them the wind would erode my already depleted hill and blow soil where it’s not wanted. Plus they are green and I like lushness. Should I still call them weeds? They are both beautiful and useful. My ex husband once landscaped outside our kitchen window and when he was finished it looked brown and horrible compared to the sea of green weeds that had gone before. It was more ordered and it now had potential while the new plants grew, but it took a while to look good again. Most renovations look terrible before they look better but usually come up looking better by the time the job is over. Not so in the case of gardening. You pay a premium for an ‘established garden’ otherwise they wouldn’t mention it when advertising a property.

Where was I? Ah yes, I read a chaper on marketing in a book recently by John Williams which said that you should sell yourself, your quirks and persoality before you can sell your products. It is not enough to be anonymous. And in order to play the ‘fame game’ to get a following for your creativity, you should be wearing loud shirts in a sea of suits, or a three piece tweed suit in a sea of jeans. I am sure the writer was not saying ‘Be a weed!’ He probably isn’t recommending you to wear what you are uncomfortable in either, for the sake of getting attention. He was saying that being yourself and daring to stand out is better than playing it safe. That should then apply to the stray rose and wheat plants. They are being themselves. Yet are they weeds?

I read too the story about some guy who had an unusual hobby for where he lives in the US and was considered a weed/geek etc. Yet he found his tribe on the other side of the world (thanks to the internet) where he was revered and asked to speak at a conference as an expert. He felt a weed at home so perhaps it was better for him to leave the ‘field’ where he stood out to go where the other similar plants were. Hey, how about the ugly duckling? He was considered a weed in one setting but a valued family member in another. I think the message in that fable was that you are never a weed, which is probably JD Boatwood’s.

Unfortunately you may be born a ‘weed’ in your family; an artist among scientists or a scientist among artists. The message I get from this is that if your peers treat you like a weed or try to turn you into something you are not then perhaps its time to find your tribe. But if your peers are open minded (i.e us!), we will see those that stand out for what they truly are. We can appreciate them and learn more from them, being different, than from the 100th Rose bush or Wheat plant in a field. I guess it’s saying appreciate diversity. Not a bad message all up JD.