Turning the World’s Worst Weed into the Best Bouquet

As I walk in the field, I pick my way around the worst weed.  The farmer tells me it’s called Velvetleaf, and, as far as crop weeds go, it’s an absolute terror:  competitive, nutrient-draining, murderous of other plants, and just plain ugly.   

Velvetleaf in the Field

You can’t destroy Velvetleaf.  The seeds stay viable in the earth for over 50 years.  Impervious to weed killer–even the strongest herbicides–this damaging, noxious plant represents a farmer’s nightmare. 

My mother sees something different. 


With an eye for beauty, she asks the farmer if we might take a few stalks.  He laughs out loud and shakes his head.  “You don’t want that stuff,” he insists.  “Even one seed pod dropped on your lawn will destroy it, and you won’t be able to get rid of it.”

“We would like some,” she says as he continues to laugh. 

Back home, my mother takes a vase and builds the most beautiful bouquet to fill out the corner behind my piano. 

You take a weed–even an ancient one that can last generations–and you turn it into something beautiful. 

If you can’t destroy it, make it beautiful. 

Journal:  Have you ever made something beautiful out of what others consider worthless? 

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  1. Thanks for being patient as I try to figure out Disqus!  Some folks are commenting but it's not showing up here!  So sorry! 

  2. Love it! Making the best out of what is there. Seeing the beauty that lies within. Wonderful post! 🙂

  3. Meredith, I just love disqus so far THANKS TO YOU!! The comments don't load up as quickly as I would like. Do you think I'm doing something wrong?

  4. Hmm. Nope — sometimes they are a little a slow to load. The widget method of install is the only way that I know how to do it. IntenseDebate has two methods of install — widget method and template – the template method is faster for loading.
    But – – – switching over to IntenseDebate from Disqus would mean you would lose all of the disqus comments you have accumulated so far. (I haven't figured a way around this yet.)

  5. Actually, you know what? It does seem a little slow.  BUT — it is slower than usual on my site, as well, so I think it is just server thing on their end.  It is not normally this slow!

  6. Maybe it's just a slow day!  Also, I get double email alerts–one from blogger and one from disqus when folks comment.  Do I disable the blogger comments? 

  7. Well — Do not hide the blogger comments, BUT you can disable the email notification of comments. (Under settings —> mobile and email. OH! Do NOT enable the mobile version of your site, because Disqus doesn't operate on the mobile version of the sites. That might change.

  8. You take after your mother in this, Heather.  Everyday you take something mundane and sometimes ugly and make it beautiful. 

  9. I switched to Disqus several weeks ago, too, and there is one person whose comments will not show up unless I once again import blogger comments. That's the only thing I find frustrating….otherwise, I love being able to reply to comments.

  10. Great addition of another weed to the ornamental category! I must, however, as a plant scientist, offer a correction to the false statement that velvetleaf is “impervious to…even the strongest herbicides.” Although highly competitive, as you correctly remarked, pendimathalin , fluometuron, cyanazine, trifluralin, and glyphosate, each at less than 1.5 kg/ha, are extremely efficient at suppressing or eradicating velvetleaf in production fields.
    In case you were curious, the aspect of velvetleaf physiology that makes it particularly adaptive to crop fields under herbicide control is its high nutrient and water use efficiency relative to cultivated plants. Velvetleaf very rapidly outgrows most crops, making the critical period for herbicide control narrow and early in the cultivation period (usually pre-emergence or within days post-emergence of both the crop and the weed).
    Please keep bringing more “weeds” to your home and showing the world that beauty is in the eye of the beholder.