Are you interested in learning to recognize destructive roots and how to eliminate them?
Historically, if I could do something the hard way, I did it. If I could find a way to be more misunderstood than I was already, I found it. If I could make my life more difficult, when I was trying to make it easier, I did that, too.
Oh, I don’t mean to suggest that I set out with those intentions. It just kind of unfolded that way. Oops.
I might as well have been busting my backside to grow a beautiful garden and then trampling the pretty little buds — and then planting bindweed everywhere, just to wreck it for sure.
That stuff is insane. Just this side of impossible to kill or remove. It’s extremely invasive and suffocating, and even the tiniest bits of roots can turn into yet another crawling, choking, intrusive plant.
And bramble. Oh, man. It’s even worse.
The seeds were sown deep inside me when I was little.
It climbs and hides, creeping and crawling everywhere, tearing clothing, tearing flesh with its evil spikes, and every time you think you’ve got rid of it, it reappears in a heartbeat, ignoring you completely, as if it had never been gone.
Sometimes I wasn’t battling bindweed and bramble, though. Just some happy little misunderstood dandelions that looked so innocuous and pretty, a bright splash of perky yellowness here and there, trying to brighten up the garden; what could be the harm?
Well, they can get pretty big, and because they spread so quickly and easily, they can brighten it up just a little too much.
Yeah, I know, they have some good uses, but I’m talking about having them turn up when and where you don’t want them, just like a whole passel of uninvited relatives appearing on your doorstep, steamer trunks in hand and askin’ if they can “set a spell.”
There they are, all tired and sagging, a red-faced Aunt Marjory and toothless Uncle Herbert, with scrawny cousin Alma, her dim-witted husband, Melvin, and their nine dirty, scruffy little offspring who are fighting and shoving each other on your front lawn.
“We ain’t got no place ta sleep! We did bin kicked out of the trailer for not payin’ the rent, but it ain’t mah fault that the bootleggin’ moonshine market ain’t great, and I cain’t make no money!” cries Uncle Herbert.
You might not mind them in their trailer, and you might even enjoy a little blast of Uncle Herbert’s moonshine now and then (although it’ll peel the bark off yer innards).
But this is a little too close for comfort.
As a child, I was the seed of a rose bush…
…buried in a garden full of invasive and suffocating bindweed whose beautiful, deceptive flowers fooled the untrained observer, as did the delicious bramble fruit.
As an adult, I saw them for what they were and spent decades trying to get rid of them and all the other weeds that were springing up and doing their level best to destroy the garden I was working so hard to create.
For every lovely plant I managed to nurture until it began to bloom, there were several unwanted and toxic weeds trying to destroy the peaceful, tranquil, beautiful garden for which I yearned.
Still, I kept planting many different flowers and herbs, with countless colors, shapes, sizes, and textures, while learning more about the bindweed and bramble, how to dig up their roots and destroy any remaining bit of them that lurked in the soil of my developing garden.
Dandelions and numerous other weeds kept springing up — as they still do from time to time. I suppose they always will because life is just like that.
But my previously shriveled brown thumb has gradually become greener over the years. I’ve become better at guarding and nurturing the plants I want and removing or preventing the growth of the ones that ruin my garden.
No doubt you can relate to much of what I’m saying
I know I am in good company with my story. No doubt you have been hoeing and digging, planting and nurturing, doing your best to create a beautiful garden of loveliness in your life while doing battle with the bindweed, the bramble, the thistles and thorns — and the Aunt Marjory and Uncle Herberts of your life, the stuff that comes up disguised as relatively harmless but it still ruins your garden.
But if you keep focusing on what you want to create, if you keep a clear vision of that vast array of herbs and flowers, the colors and textures, that lovely, thriving garden that is how you want your life to be, you’ll get better at making it happen.
And if you keep studying about how to deal with the bindweed, the bramble, the thistles, and thorns, if you keep learning about the conditions in which they thrive — or they don’t — then you will get better at keeping them out of your pretty garden.
It doesn’t happen overnight. Even the best gardeners weren’t born with the knowledge they possess. Some may have more of a knack for it than others, but they still had to learn, although it may have been relatively quick and relatively simple, at least as compared with those of us who are brown-thumbers.
And for the ones with the very brownest of thumbs who just seemed to create one major disaster after another throughout our lives, despite our best intentions and efforts, it’s just taken us a little (or a lot) longer to learn how to create the right environment in which our beautiful gardens can grow and figure out how to make the bindweed go away — and stay away.
Better late than never
Just park yourself in your garden regularly, take a look around at the gorgeous plants that you’ve helped to grow and thrive. Poke in between them and under their leaves, and look for the weeds, whatever you don’t want, and get rid of it.
Whatever that means to you — whatever is cluttering up your garden, whatever is spoiling the view, whatever you don’t want — get rid of it.
And although you’ll probably have some bits of bindweed that keep springing up here and there (because life is like that, there are certain unpleasantries that we have to tolerate), at least you can be aware of that and do your best to keep it from destroying the rest of your garden.
This article has been reprinted with permission from Angel RIBO’s LinkedIn page.