The title of this topic was inspired by Sarah Stein's book "My Weeds". Sarah Stein first designed her own garden in a conventional way. But, after she had banned all weeds, she noticed that many birds, butterflies, dragonflies and other animals had deserted it. She changed then her strategy and allowed wild species to colonize her garden. This last experience ist narrated in her later book, "Noah's Garden", which shows the impressive knowledge she gathered as a field ecologist and "unbecoming a garderner" over the years.
A truly environmentally-friendly garden reserves some space for weeds. A cleared garden containing only breeding species has a lower production and is more susceptible to pests than a "bewildered" garden (see The Bird-Friendly Garden and The Insect-Friendly Garden topics). They can offer a habitat to many (useful) animals and some can be used as pest repellents, as ingredients of self-made medicine, or even for cooking.
Many endemic plant species are disappearing for various reasons (land clearing, loss of habitat, invasion of imported species, ...) though they would deserve as an important position as exotic or breeding plants in garden because of their modest but tufted beauty. With the loss of those species, many animals also loss a habitat and are thus threatend in their turn.
Therefore, stop clearing frantically your garden: Weeds are your ally more than a fiend and you can do your little contribution to biodiversity conservation reserving some space for them.
Discover in the following articles some surprising properties of "weeds".
In the German Language
- Fischer-Rizzi S.: Medizin der Erde: Legenden, Mythen, Heilanwendungen und Betrachtung unserer Heilpflanzen. 9. Auflage überarbeitet. Heinrich Hugendubel Verlag, München 1984; ISBN: 3 88034 688 7
In the English Language
- Stein S.: My Weeds: A gardener's botany. University Press of Florida, Gainesville 1988; ISBN: 0 8130 1739 4
- Stein S.: Noah's Garden: Restoring the Ecology of our own Backyards. Houghton Mifflin Company, New York 1993; ISBN-13: 9780-395-70940-5, ISBN-10: 0-395709407
In the French Language
Albouy v., 2005: Le jardin naturel : 148 espèces de fleurs sauvages à introduire au jardin. Les guides du naturalistes, Delachaux et Niestlé, Paris 2006. ISBN: 2-603-01321-1