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Weeds make great flowerbed filler

Weeds are certain plants designated as weedy or invasive, or with the potential to become weedy or invasive. Some weeds are even identified as noxious.

The term weed is subjective in that a weed is often classified as such by its context -meaning it is unwanted in its location. It may be considered a weed in a flowerbed, but a wildflower in a meadow.

Weeds are easy to grow if you'll just stop fighting them.

Weeds generally possess advantageous adaptations that allow them to grow in the face of neglect, abuse, drought, and hoeing. This doesn't mean you can't kill weeds, though, so be careful!

Weeds make easy, no-maintenance ground covers to hold topsoil. They also send down long taproots that bring up water and nutrients and break up hard ground. They're used in many natural remedies, and also can make beautiful cutting arrangements. The main trouble with weeds is attitude - yours!

How does your weed garden grow? Mine's doing fantastic, so I thought I'd share my secrets.

Six Tips for Growing Great Weeds:

1. For God's sake, leave them alone! And whatever you do, don't squirt with them with that weed killer stuff. It's called WEED KILLER for a reason.

2. Don't water them. They don't need it.  Weeds are the Earth's most efficient plants. Why conservation and going-green groups don't take up for them more, I don't know. They are the kings of preserving our planet's water resources.

3. Encourage a variety of weeds for color and texture. Weeds look fantastic in groupings.

4. Allow weeds to grow as big as they want to grow. They actually start to look more purposefully planted that way.

5. Grow weeds interspersed with cultivated plants such as roses. This lends a special charm to garden beds.

6. Weeds make great filler in incomplete beds. I found, in particular, that they spread well in my side garden. Next year, I'll divide my hostas, which also grow well there, to fill in blank areas of the garden. This year, the weeds did a stupendous job on their own. To grow weeds as filler, it's important to stop mulching.

I've been very successful this year with my weeds and I'm enjoying the bounty now as I bring in armfuls of cuttings for arrangements in my house. I decorated my house for a party last weekend for free - with weeds! Now is the perfect time to harvest them, because fall-blooming weeds are coming into season.

And the best thing about weeds? If you forgot to grow any of your own, take a drive down any country road and they are free for the picking.

Writer Suzanne McMinn lives in Roane County, where she writes every day in her blog, Chickens in the Road, at



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