By: Allie Webb
As I look out over my yard in Old Town Suwanee, I realize how blessed we are here in the South. Even with the strange weather we’ve had in the past few weeks with the thermometer trying to decide if it is winter or spring.
The flowers seem to love the yo-yo weather. My yard was covered with beautiful yellow flowers throughout the month of February. Daffodils sprang open everywhere as though excited to see the sunshine along with a large goldenrod bush that pulls the rays of sunlight right down for us to admire.
Then as the yellows and golds disappear other flowers will pop open to take their place, giving us a special gift to soothe our spirit as the rush of life often leaves us tired and frazzled.
My yard looks like green velvet very early in the season, and it’s really not the grass. I have the hated weeds of clover, dandelion and wild violets mixed in with my grass among many others. As I trim it with the mower, it is a gorgeous soft green.
My yard once held a large family garden and the clover was used as a ground cover plant to help restore the nutrients to the soil after a season of growing. As I look at how pretty it is I can’t see the plants as weeds. People think you should wipe out the ugly weeds.
Several years ago I read a wonderful magazine article. A young lady, raised in Alaska in a village of Native American Eskimo descent, had written the story for a newspaper she worked for. She had left the village as soon as she became an adult and moved to the city. Thinking, as they say, the grass is always greener on the other side –
She was so proud to show her elderly visiting grandmother the large homes with their well-manicured lawns and not a weed in sight throughout the city.
But she couldn’t understand why her grandmother just shook her head as she ‘Felt sorry for the poor people with no food’. It took years for the young lady to realize her grandmother had grown up in a time when the coming of the Spring Season meant fresh greens to a race of people who were surviving on what Nature provided for them.
As you look at your yards and see that pesky weed, think of what the plants meant to a lot of people. Maybe even try a few dishes from an edible wild foods book – dandelion roots can be roasted and eaten like peanuts and the young leaves make an excellent addition to a fresh salad. The beautiful little violet flowers can be dipped in a sugar water to make candied flowers. Wild strawberries can be picked and eaten just as they are. Even to this day, I still know people who talk about the Polk salad plant they ate as children. A fresh green considered a delicacy here in the South. And that is just to name a few –
There are numerous wild plants just as beautiful as the domesticated ones we grow. Look around your yard as the warm weather comes in this Spring Season and enjoy Nature’s gifts.