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Article: Weeds We Don't Want: Honeyvine Milkweed: "Weeds" Versus "Plants"

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Forum: Article: Weeds We Don't Want: Honeyvine MilkweedReplies: 2, Views: 72
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Stanchfield, MN

June 28, 2010
9:54 AM

Post #7927587

Toni, this is not aimed at you specifically, but to everyone who has a garden (or happens to be a farmer)...

The problem with calling something a "weed" and declaring it an Official Nuisance (or worse) is that by doing so, it tends to make others think that it is dangerous in some way or just plain completely useless in every way. If a plant attracts beneficial insects -- even in the form of the Monarch butterfly larvae (which, as adults, are truly magnificent!), it should be eradicated only after considerable thought and only when absolutely necessary.

As gardeners, either vegetable or flower, we have to tend our gardens and prune back/remove what is not beneficial to or wanted in our gardens anyway. Some of us (many, I suspect) actually want such plants as any kind of milkweed in our gardens to attract butterflies (and not just Monarchs); I happen to also enjoy the very pleasant smell of the flowers. I am increasingly making use of many "noxious and dangerous weeds" such as Lamb's Quarters, Yarrow, Stinging nettle, Wood nettle, "Wild" Parsnip (it's the exact same parsnip you find in the store - those who grow/harvest cultivated parsnips still have to be careful to not get the plant sap on their skin), Burdock, Thistle (especially Bull Thistle), Sheep Sorrel, and other plants that can be used as food and medicine. Those plants are "noxious and dangerous" mostly because they are of no APPARENT financial value.

I have a problem with certain trees which continually send their seeds into my vegetable garden. Since I am committed to not using chemicals to kill anything not a squash, bean, maize, onion, radish, beet, lettuce, etc, etc, etc, I have to pull the tree seedlings out by hand; in the past week alone, I have pulled oak, ash, elm, box elder and maples, for a total of more than 100 seedlings. How about if I start a campaign to have all of those beneficial trees labeled "Official Nuisances" and have them eradicated -- just because I consider them to be nothing more than "weeds"?

Do what needs to be done to keep what don't want in your garden, out of your garden -- but please, do not tell everyone else that what you do not happen to want is a "weed" which absolutely must be eradicated for the benefit of all Humankind. Even poison ivy/oak/sumac has some use (and it is a TRULY noxious plant indeed).
Hayesville, NC
(Zone 7a)

June 29, 2010
10:51 AM

Post #7930571

Hi, Nordic,

Careful with the "wild parsnip" - it sounds like it might look like a plant
called "wild hemlock" (no, not the tree) which kills even experienced

I, too, pull maple trees, etc., out of my gardens. I, too, dine on lambs quarters,
etc. I have red swamp milkweed growing - I finally bought the plant
after two years of failing to germinate its seeds.

But last year I noticed this vine on my property, and this summer I see that
I am going to have to diligently try to eradicate it or just forget about
gardening. I'm glad to learn its ID, but sorry to meet up with it.
Marquesas Islands
Polynesia (French)

June 29, 2010
4:25 PM

Post #7931223

NOT necessarily, educated horticulturalists know that weeds are those
not supposed to be found in some garden styles, as in formal for example. However, in the prairie garden I am certain that plants considered weeds are perfectly fine.

Often context determine what a weed is. There are domesticated weeds in my over hundred species collection: Urena lobata, Trimelia martinicensis,
Dipterantus prostratus and Passiflora pallida l./ foetida. I do not
know what others may think of this, but I could care less. Setting
trends is all I care for.

I believe aesthetics and other considerations as maintenance for example determine in if weeds will become part of my garden. For the unruly habit of growth, a rare vine, Canavalia maritima, was eliminated.

In brief, weed or not, some are useful for fauna and look fine among
other flora. It is a matter of focus, perspective and vision.

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