Three years ago, I blogged with joy about how we turned Velvetleaf into a beautiful indoor arrangement. You remember the story: My mother and I discovered this unwanted, invasive, terrible weed in the pumpkin patch at the fruit farm.
We created the most lovely bouquet. I boasted about how living with flair meant turning the obnoxious weed that nobody wanted into something beautiful.
But if you remember the story, the farmer warned us: “You do not want this anywhere near your home! Even one seed will destroy your yard! You can never get rid of velvetleaf. Don’t do it.”
I did it. And in summer, I threw the bouquet into the compost bin next to my berry patch because I wanted something fresh for my living room. I hadn’t been to my berry patch for a month or so, and I venture out this morning to find this:
I was warned and didn’t listen. Velvetleaf now covers my berry patch. My poor strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries. Immediately, I remembered with shame how even a little sin—something that seems beautiful that nevertheless plants a seed into the heart—will take over my life and choke the landscape of my soul. I remember how David cried out in Psalm 139: “Search me, O God, and know my heart. Try me and know my anxious thoughts. Find out if there is any offensive way in me and lead me in the way everlasting!”
Velvet leaf—such a small, harmless looking thing—harbors toxins that destroy plants, blocks light from your crop, stays viable in soil for 50 years, is highly competitive with anything around it, knows how to block herbicides, releases chemicals to starve other plants, and if you crush it, it thrives.
I remember the warning from the farmer I never heeded today. And I praise God that “He is faithful and just to forgive our sin and cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).
I have to admit… this sparked anxiety in me for you. What are you going to do??
Carla! Do not worry! I found out that Velvetleaf is an annual, and if you start ripping it out before it has those seed pods, you can drastically reduce them in your yard. Whew!
Oh, good! I hope it won’t wreak too much havoc on your berry patch in the meantime.