Loving Bindweed

Convolvulus, or bindweed, sometimes called wild morning glory is found in my backyard. When I first moved to my house, the retired, gardening couple who had the place before left me with immaculate English gardens and two huge vegetable gardens. I was reluctant to move there knowing my record with plants but, other than the gardens the place had everything we needed so, we moved. In two years I had effectively destroyed the flower gardens by not know what was frost hardy, what needed to be lifted, and by pulling things I thought were weeds that weren’t. I was sad. There were however some pretty pink flowers growing in the lawn and up the fence that I didn’t kill, actually couldn’t kill

Shortly after we moved in I recognized the beautiful wild morning glory for what it was, bindweed, the ENEMY. It scooted through the grass and into the garden to wrap itself around the tomatoes, cucumbers, beets, radishes, lettuce, you name it. Bindweed hugged everything to death. I went on a mission. Kill it! was my battle cry. I dug trenches four feet deep to get below its hardy root system, that made it worse. I poured boiling water on it, burning myself. I cut it off at the surface two or three times a day. I mulched the heck out of it and one year I even broke down and tried chemicals even though the guy in the garden centre said it probably wouldn’t work. He was right. I developed a passion for killing bindweed that was rivaled only by my love for my children. The more it grew the more I upped the stakes. I felt like Coyote chasing Road Runner. I was always getting the anvil dropped on my head.

One day I gave up gardening. What was the point? It was easier and more fun to buy my veggies at the grocery store or at the farm market. I talked to other gardeners about bindweed but I had tried all of their solutions and none worked.

Skip ahead twenty years: Today I was out in my garden watching the Monarch butterflies congregating in my milkweed garden. I looked over the labyrinth cut into my small hay field and thought about how groomed my lawn used to. It doesn’t look like that anymore. I went back to pulling some weeds out from between the plants. As I worked I gently tugged the morning glory stems from below the stalks of the plants. Yes, I still have the stuff but somehow I am relating to it in a different way. I have learned to accept it and in doing that, I have actually managed to live with it. We are at peace.

I don’t think we have any less wild morning glory in the grass or the garden but today I appreciate the blossoms in the field as it runs up the fence or the long grass. It is beautiful bobbing in the summer sun. In the veggie garden I pull it away from the actual plants it will effect and try to keep it out of the walk ways. Now it seems like a metaphor for the things in my life that I have no control over. I need to do what I can and enjoy the garden, otherwise it will spoil my day or the fun that I could have out in my backyard. Right now I am trying to be as philosophical with mosquitos.

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