What is a weed?

If someone were to ask you what a weed was - what comes to mind? Is it an unwanted plant in your garden, lush wild flowers other people call weeds? Pesky invaders or plants that have survived and thrived where none others could?

My first attempt at growing an asian veggie, bok choy (pak choi and several other names) was quite disastrous. I was so thrilled when the seeds germinated and young tender shoots started appearing. Within a very short time, they were soon hidden by lush foliage also known as pigweed. Never mind, I thought, I can still find the greens among the weeds. I found the plants only caterpillars had gotten to them first and all that remained were the lacy ribs of the leaves! The caterpillars had eaten all the veggies and the pigweed was unscathed. No bok choy that year!

The other day I came across a quote, new to me that many of you may already know : “What is weed? It is a plant whose virtues have not yet  been discovered”. Thank you Ralph Waldo Emerson. As I had such a beautiful garden of pigweed that year, I decided to do some research and found out that the whole plant, a part of the Amaranth family, is edible and you can even pop the seeds like popcorn - go figure! I did cook some leaves and it was quite tasty.  Not being a fan of popcorn I never tried popping the seeds.

Coming across this quote made me think about weeds, not the plant type as I am already convinced of their virtues having eaten many ‘weeds’ in veggie meals.  Instead I thought about the concept of virtues yet to be discovered: hidden talents, lack of belief in ourselves, hastiness to judge someone because of their behaviour we consider undesirable and insecurities that what we have to offer may not be enough. If you haven’t already done so, are you ready to acknowledge your virtues?

Perhaps next week we can discuss a rose by any other name ….