By Marianne Delorey, Contributing Writer
“Removing negativity from your life leaves room for more positivity to grow.” – Unknown
This year, I have thrown my whole self into gardening. Usually, I have a few plants; this year I have dozens. It is exciting to imagine what the future will hold. And this year, I have been thinking about cultivating — what we cultivate in our own lives and how sometimes, we need to be careful what we are both putting our energy into, and what we allow to grow while we were busy doing other things.
So, this article is about weeding. But it really isn’t. Having just watched Zander Moricz’s commencement speech, in which he talks about having “curly hair” because he was told his mic would be cut if he mentioned he was gay, this article is about what you really need to hear. This article is about the positivity and negativity that is in your life. That could include a person, several people, the clutter, the baggage, or the obligations that we all have. This article is about preparing your later years for good things and removing whatever negativity you can. Because at the heart of weeding is recognizing that weeds compete with your main plant for sunlight, water, nutrients and space. Your primary plant’s growth depends on this competition for resources.
Prevention – The first principle of weeding is preparing the soil. When you want something to grow, you loosen the dirt, fertilize the soil, add the desired plant or seed, and mulch around it. These steps ensure the best possible conditions for that plant to thrive. In other situations, you may want to think about what conditions you are offering.
Identification – The second principle of weeding is to know what is growing around your desired plant. Not all weeds are bad. In fact, when a desired plant shows up where you don’t expect it, gardeners call these plants “volunteers.” Sometimes, you may prefer to keep a volunteer; sometimes you may even keep it instead of or to the detriment of the original plant you chose for the spot. Last year, I found wild grapes growing at the edge of my yard. This year, I am training those grapes along some string and weeding around them to encourage more growth. What volunteers exist in your life? And what weeds are toxic or detrimental to your health and well-being?
Control – This step can be difficult because it requires decisive action. Can you pull out the weed? Will you get the whole root? Control is not a one-step process. You will need to revisit the desired plant to make sure you are giving it all the nutrients it needs. Recently, I found some shrubs at the edge of my property that turned out to be invasive bittersweet. I did not ask this plant to grow, but I had ignored the area. That neglect had allowed the weed to grow out of control; the plant was huge. It took hours to remove, and now that it is done, I have plants I want in that space. And the process was overwhelming, but my sons were a huge help.
And so, I pose to you several important questions for you as you age – what kinds of plants are ripe for the soil you are offering? Is your soil ripe for clutter? Negative people? Poor lifestyle choices? Is there anything you can do to prevent further negativity? What are the good things in your life you did not expect to find? What may be growing up in the shadows and choking out good plants without your knowledge? Is there someone who can help you find the roots of these weeds?
Enjoy your summer and enjoy watching how your garden grows.