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Scratches, scrapes, bruises, and thorn punctures have always been part of my gardening experience. No matter how well I try to protect myself, I always end up a little battered after working in the garden. It’s a price I gladly pay for the pleasure of creating a sanctuary in my back yard.

Yesterday, while Larry stained the fence, I pulled weeds. And more weeds. Amending the beds with compost each year is a double-edged sword. It provides wonderful soil for my flowers, vegetable and berries; and it provides wonderful soil for weeds. Short of continual applications of toxic weedkiller, getting rid of weeds is never-ending work. I’ve considered hosting a “Garden(ing) Party”, offering my friends an alfresco lunch in exchange for an hour of weed-pulling.

It’s always startling to go back into the garden after weeding and find a glaringly obvious weed that I missed.  Apparently I’m not alone in that. On my morning walk recently, I glanced at a lovely purple and white iris. Then I looked again as I noticed several large weeds growing beside it, apparently overlooked by the resident gardener. I was tempted to reach in and yank them out, but wasn’t sure if my help would be welcome.

As my writer friend Carol commented on my previous post about weeds, we can benefit from being connected to others who may be willing to help pull weeds when we’re not able.  It’s vital not just because of the weeds—it’s the weed seeds, as well. In this photo, you could count a dozen flower buds on the prominent weed in the center. If this weed blooms and goes to seed, it could release more than a thousand seeds, each able to reproduce in kind. Some will just land among the iris stalks, others will be borne by wind, birds, trouser hems and sneaker soles to invade other gardens or even other neighborhoods.

It’s dismaying to see the potential “weeds” in my life—attitudes, unconsidered actions, thought patterns—that could affect not only my own “garden”, but inadvertently spread around me. I’m very grateful for those close to me who not only see the weeds, but are willing to help deal with them. In a good friendship, as in gardening, there’s always job security.