#972: A green thumb

I’m been having a problem with cow vetch . While it didn’t bother me too much for the first couple of years at this garden, it’s been more aggressive lately, in invading all areas of our flower beds and wrapping itself in a big cloud of vines around the other plants. So I’ve been pulling it out by the handful every few days early in this gardening season.

The Girl, at this age, is pretty used to gardening all these years with me, and can confidently identify what’s desirable and what’s not in our garden. She’s been having fun pouncing on not only the cow vetch, but also baby heads of ragweed, thistles, and wild carrot. The Boy’s interest in gardening, up until now, has extended only as far as pushing his mini-wheelbarrow and reel mower, or admiring his green gardening gloves on his tiny hands. But this year, all of a sudden, he’s been hanging over my shoulder as I pull out cow vetch.

“What’s that, Mama?”

“Cow vetch. A weed.”

“What’s a ‘weed’?”

“A plant in the wrong place,” I mutter, trotting out the old line.

“What does it do? Can I see what it looks like?”

I explain that cow vetch wraps itself around other plants and makes it hard for the other plants to grow freely. Besides, it looks messy, even if it does later produce purple flowers. And I bring a long stem of it up to his face for closer inspection. He takes a quick look, then trots off, apparently looking for other distractions.

A few minutes later, I hear a voice over my shoulder again.

“Here you go, Mama.”


“I picked some cal vetch for you.” And he opens his hands to reveal a large patch . . . of my beautiful blue flax.

“Oh, thank you, honey. You really helped me out a lot.” He smiles, and happy that his task is done, runs off again in search of other pursuits.

It’s okay, of course, because there’s plenty of that blue flax, and it literally grows like a weed (although a good weed). What is more important is that I’m touched at his attempt to understand the “cal vetch” and to help me rid the garden of it. This is his gift to me. And when it comes to gifts, of course, it’s the thought that counts.