Number Four: I wouldn’t pull weeds without being careful to identify what I am pulling. (See number 3).
So you’ve heard the story of my battle with poison ivy on this place. Thankfully, I know to look for poison ivy and I know now how to identify it, but sometimes…it sneaks in there and before you know it, the vine is hanging as blessed as you please, spraying it’s noxious juices all over me. So it really is important to pay attention to what you pull.
There are other weeds as well that can cause a tremendous amount of skin and lung problems. It’s really important – especially if you live in rural areas or if you are clearing plots of land that has never been cultivated – to learn to identify these weeds. Identifying poisonous weeds. Poison sumac, poison oak and wild parsnip are some that cause pretty serious reactions that it’s important to know what you’re touching.
There are a good number of other flowers and plants we often see in a garden that are poisonous as well. We need to make sure that when we are planting plants, know who will be visiting and playing in your garden. If you host or have little kids living with you, you probably won’t want to plant things like foxglove, lily of the valley or plants that have poisonous berries; the littles tend to try to eat anything that looks like a sweet berry.
But the other reason you need to be able to identify what you are pulling is because sometimes you may be pulling up the plants you fostered to grow last year. It’s true! It took me about 5 years to be able to grow cone flowers and poppies! Do you know how alike weeds they look when they are popping their heads out of the ground?
I think sometimes I get so excited about Spring after a long cruel winter, that I just start digging and pulling and tearing up my garden, and I often pull what I had so tediously protected the year before.
I remember one day visiting my friend and I reached down and started to pull what looked like a dandelion from her flower bed. She stopped me and explained that it was a coneflower! I had just complained that I couldn’t get coneflowers to grow in my garden!! Needless to say we had a good laugh over that one.
So, now, I try a couple of things to help. First, I keep track of the plants in my garden – kind of a little road map – so I can remember the next year what should be coming up again. I also wait just a bit in the Spring to fiddle with the garden. This is for a couple of reasons, actually. Sometimes in my haste for Spring, I will remove the mulch that is necessary to protect the emerging plants from the fluctuating early Spring weather.