Weed out the negativity before it destroys what once was beautiful

In these early days of June, as the sun shines warm in the sky, our garden borders and flower beds are transformed with a perfusion of scent and colour as bulging Spring buds show forth their hidden glory. Annuals, biennials and perennials grow tall and strong competing for the light and brighten our days with their kaleidoscope of colour, attracting the pollinating insects and giving pleasure in so doing, to the senses of the passerby.

But as the growth of that which we have planted and nurtured throughout the Spring is exponential in its rapidity come the heady days of June, so too is the growth of that which we have not planted, which grows in flowerbeds and borders with wild abandon, the dreaded weed. Some grow, side by side, with our garden beauties and do little or no harm but there are those who are akin to a parasite, using the shrubs and flowers of our gardens to grow tall and bask in the light, bringing about the demise of their host plant in their clamber to succeed.

One such pernicious weed is the common Bindweed or to give it its latin name, Calystegia sepium. It climbs with strong twining stems, weaving its way, tightly round and round the host until, eventually, it has completely engulfed the unsuspecting plant. It sometimes is known by the benign name of ‘morning glory’ for, as it reaches maturity, it reveals large white trumpet like flowers, which seem pretty in appearance. But, as in all things, do not be drawn in only by appearance for the intent of this pernicious weed is only to do damage and bring about the demise of the host for its own dominance and gain.

The Bindweed spreads mainly from a virulent underground tap root, which penetrates deep, deep into the ground and then spreads at a tremendous speed sending white, fleshy roots beneath the surface of the ground throughout a garden. The richer and more fertile the soil, the easier it spreads. In fact its roots can reach up to seven feet or more in all directions sending a shoot upwards above the surface at every opportunity where it finds a host to wind its choking stems around and grow towards the sun.

Even the minutest section of a root, broken off, is capable of producing a new shoot and can unwittingly be brought into your garden hidden among other plant roots and in soils or manures. Woe betide if it invades your soil for it is so very hard to get rid of.

Indeed it is the bane of every gardener’s life for it invades borders and, if you do not keep on top of it by hoeing its young shoots at every opportunity, it will take over and your pretty flowerbeds and borders over time will become a jungle of weeds. The bindweed's intent is to do what it set out to do, bring about the demise of all before it, choking each plant that comes in its way and blocking out the light.

Gardeners garner much from their closeness to the soil and gardening teaches its pupils much about life and living. For what is seen in the life of plants can mirror that which arises in the midst of human living and so too with the example of the bindweed. The goodness and the beauty that is inherent in all human beings is evident each day in acts of kindness and the pleasantness with which we meet in the midst of the ordinary.

But so too we can be confronted with that which first appears benevolent but its intent is only to spread discord and disharmony where peace and harmony once thrived. It is akin to a weed, which can be carried in the smallest of pieces, taking hold and spreading its roots beneath the surface, quite unbeknownst to others. If it is allowed to thrive, it can prey on that which is good, in workplaces, in school yards, in places where people seek relaxation, appearing as a benign little shoot, which then takes hold in a place which knew peace and contentment - in the midst of those who seek only to thrive and reach their potential.

The roots spread in all directions, sending up its shoot where it will find a host to wind its twining stem around, choking out all the goodness, the beauty and the potential of what was to be. Over time, unchecked, the weed can take over and the beauty that was once known is completely disguised as the weed clambers to seek the light for itself. This weed can take many forms - gossip, negativity, bullying, coercive control - in gesture, in word and in deed, giving the appearance of an outer morning show, which masks the malevolence of its purpose, indeed disguising its intent, smiling, laughing, being your second self. Though the flower is sweet, its roots are strong and, if it does take hold, it will take time to eradicate. So, as with the gardener, hoe at first sight, do not let the shoots take hold for, if you do, a garden that was once filled with flowers will soon become devoid of all its colour.


Waiting for warmer days to come