When I was younger, I thought weeds were small plants who just turned up in the garden or on paving making themselves unwanted intruders. The answer to getting rid of them was simple; just pull them out and throw the weed in the rubbish.
However, my thoughts changed when I moved to the property where I live now. The new property had established gardens, created to sell the house. Amongst the resident plants grew Agapanthus, I admired them as a plant; they had lovely blue flowers. But soon after moving to the property, I found Agapanthus growing at random all over the section and multiplying at a quick rate. Which meant, my happiness with the plant began to diminish, especially when it became a real chore to remove them.
Agapanthus are prolific at producing seeds, the seeds blow away in the winds and find unwanted places to germinate in the garden. Agapanthus like coastal areas, cliff areas, the exact environment I live.
I am an L-Plate gardener, a learner gardener, so in my eyes, the Agapanthus was becoming a pest. So, I decided to research this plant that spread so quickly, causing me anguish. My research found Agapanthus was a new listing for weed status with the local council.
So, I started to wonder what is a weed?
On weedbusters.co.nz, it confirms my original thought; a weed is a plant growing where it’s not wanted. Weedbusters also go on to state ‘A plant can become a weed because of the way it grows, the way it reproduces and the way it impacts on its surroundings. In some case, these weeds can cause problems for our environment, our economy, our way of life, or our cultural values.’
The Agapanthus which was having the most significant impact on my garden happened to be the Agapanthus praecox. Some other varieties, like the dwarf Agapanthus, are low-fertility and do not disseminate. Therefore, they do not appear in unwanted environments.
The best way of removing the agapanthus is to dig it out. So, for the removal from my garden, I cut the plant back to ground level the best I could and went about digging them out of the ground — a successful effort. The spread of the plant now reduced. I keep a few plants but make sure I get on the job quickly if I see any spread in unwanted areas.
In the end, a weed can be a plant that disseminates recklessly in an environment. If it is not reckless in the environment, and the impact is minimal, it could well be just a plant.