In Defense of Beautiful Weeds

The other evening my kids and I walked to the park. My four-year old daughter ran ahead through the dandelion-filled field, laughing with abandon.  She ran back to me and held out a treasured handful of bright yellow blossoms.

“Here Mommy! Aren’t they beautiful?”

Her seven-year old brother sniffed disdainfully. “They are just weeds.”

My daughter, the free spirit, turned and ran back through the field. Her reply was tossed carelessly over her shoulder. “No, they are beautiful weeds.”

It struck me that she was right. The field was blanketed with yellow flowers, and it was beautiful.  It was also somehow more appealing than a lawn of monotone green could ever be. 

It made me wonder; what is it we have against these sunny yellow flowers? Not only are they quite pretty as flowers, but the seed heads are just plain fun. What kid hasn’t enjoyed blowing with all their might to see if they can set every last seed free? It is rather like blowing out the candles on Nature’s birthday cake. Yet somehow they have been deemed unworthy by society, which has set solid, uninterrupted green as the ideal we should aspire to: solid, boring, green. No dots of color, no puffy white balls of seeds, no texture, just a sea of sameness.

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Remember when they were fun, not weeds?

At seven, my son has already been indoctrinated. Not too long ago he would have joined his sister in her carefree race through the colorful field.  Now he knows better. Now he knows they are “weeds”.  How much enjoyment has that label taken from his world? How much enjoyment have we taken from ourselves when we let “society” dictate that things as harmless as these little flowers are unacceptable and must be wiped out?   There is no real value that I can see in uniform green lawns, but listening to my daughter’s laughter the other evening; I have begun to wonder if there is a price.

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Kelly Grooms

Scientific Communications Specialist at Promega Corporation
Kelly earned her B.S. in Genetics from Iowa State University in Ames, IA. Prior to coming to Promega, she worked for biotech companies in San Diego and Madison. Kelly lives just outside Madison with her husband, son and daughter. Kelly collects hobbies including jewelry artistry, reading, writing, photography and knitting. She would like to be an avid runner, as evidenced by her growing collection of running gear and her single half-marathon finishers t-shirt.

4 thoughts on “In Defense of Beautiful Weeds

  1. My perspective exactly! It simply amazes me how people can love “plants” and hate “weeds”. What is the difference, anyway? Personally, I think it’s mere a matter of opinion. There are many weeds (including dandelions) I think are beautiful, and plenty of plants that are not any more, if at all, attractive than “weeds”. Good to know there are others out there that support weeds!

    -an appreciator of nature.

  2. I love the weeds that grow along the roads and some in or around the water. The ones I would love to find out what they are grow tall and have beautiful feathery tops. They look like pompas grass. I think that’s how to spell it. It grows all over. I love it and have cut it to put in vases. Could you tell me what it is? There are some others but I’m interested in them. In fact everytime I find beautiful weeds I try to get them to keep and put in vases.
    Please help.
    Thank you,
    Cindy

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