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Quote of the Day: Louisa Jones

January 26th, 2014

“Sometimes potagers begin the season in strict formality and end up romantic by September!  And sometimes, of course, the wild, romantic style is simply a fallback position for the tired gardener, when weeds get the upper hand.”

Louisa Jones – The Art of French Vegetable Gardening

This time of year it’s easy to imagine our perfect gardens, the ones we’ll have time to weed. Then it seems that come July/August those dreams fade away to simply keeping the weeds from going to seed.
potager walkway
Ideally we could find a place somewhere in the middle. A semi neat garden with a few weeds, no doubt, visiting gardeners are more comfortable when they spy a few weeds. Just like people are often more comfortable in our homes when they are a little cluttered and look lived in.

Do you like to maintain a weed free garden, a semi weed free garden, or do you let things get really “romantic”?

15 Comments to “Quote of the Day: Louisa Jones”
  1. Norma on January 26, 2014 at 7:06 am

    Definately romantic, gardens are to be enjoyed,the scrawly fennel past it’s best, but gone to seed…….(visitors will often say,”oh,yes that’s dill or fennel, somewhat unsure, well if they let them go to seed, there’s no mistaking the difference.) I think one never truely appreciates plants if they are neat freaks….But…..and this is a Big But, I feel judged by it…..and as much as I try not to let other peoples’ opinions matter……they do………
    For every metre a neat freak has one plant, I try and fit 10……ho hum
    And leave the dry stalks of bulbs to lie and refuel next years bulbs, keep my lawn somewhat scrawny, better a bit longer in our extreme heat, and I feel a lawn without a weed or too is chocker block full of herbicides! I could be a bit bias!

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  2. Joan on January 26, 2014 at 8:49 am

    I try to maintain a ‘selectively weedfree’ garden, meaning that try to control most weeds but I let the lambs quarters grow because they are my favorite green for freezing. I let them sprout up wherever they want and it’s convenient for me, but try to pull them before they go to seed (except in one area, where I’ve really let them take over). The only area that I’m neurotic about keeping the weeds out is my asparagus bed. Now that I’ve made permanent beds and put woodchips between my garden rows it’s a lot easier to keep the weeds down.

    I have some areas in my garden that I don’t plant every year and I fence the chickens into those areas to help keep the weeds down. Nonetheless, by the end of this past summer there were several areas where the weeds had totally taken over!

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  3. Nebraska Dave on January 26, 2014 at 9:23 am

    Susy, in my garden plans, there are never any weeds. There always picture perfect in every way. Spring is an enthusiastic time with soil prep and seed planting. Weeds are quickly dealt with on a daily basis. Weeds are a persistent lot and never give up. Summer time ramps up the garden the time needed to harvest and preserve. The mindset starts to creep toward, “Ah, those weeds can wait just one more day.” Unfortunately, weeds will grow exponentially and take over, it seems, in just a coupe days garden time. Soon a couple of those weeds in the back corner of the garden grow to sequoia (as in giant redwood) size and birds are nesting in them. What could have been removed with a single fore finger and thumb tug now needs a hatchet and shovel to drag out of the garden. With a prayer of protection against weed seeding the garden said, the mangy plant is chopped up and bagged to sent away to the land fill.

    So the answer to your question is “yes, there’s allot of romance that goes on in my garden. Mainly at the mid and end of the garden season.”

    Have a great some what romantic garden day.

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  4. Jennifer Fisk on January 26, 2014 at 9:48 am

    My garden was so thick with weeds last year that even the Purslane got choked out. Oh well, 2014 is a new year and a new garden.

    Reply to Jennifer Fisk's comment

  5. Amy P on January 26, 2014 at 10:43 am

    I just got a copy of this book in the mail yesterday and have been reading it when my little guys let me. Your book recommendations are wonderful, except for my book budget. :)

    I love leaving a few of the “weeds” in my garden they grow into such pretty plants. I pull them before they seed but are so pretty. I have a small garden and am one who stick plants in every available corner. My goal is to have the garden be one where every plant in it is edible and does work for my table. But I let it grow wild where I can. In fact the most prolific “weed” in my garden last year was self seeded lemon balm. It’s nice to pick weeds and bring them in the house to eat!

    Reply to Amy P's comment

  6. KimH on January 26, 2014 at 1:33 pm

    It depends on which garden it is.. Some are less romantic than others and some are so romantic it’d make your head spin. ;)

    Not really from complete choice.. physical ability or dis-ability is more to blame.. For quite a few years I have been unable to do (effectively) many gardening chores but right now Im in the best physical shape I’ve been in at least 5 or 6 years so Im feeling quite hopeful for the next gardening season. I pray it continues to at least stay this good and hopefully, improves more..

    I think I’d like to read this book this quote is from.. I utilize the library these days.. and if I MUST buy a book, I know I’ll adore it.
    I used to blow thousands of dollars on books I’ll never read again..
    Im glad I learned my lesson.

    Reply to KimH's comment

  7. Marby on January 26, 2014 at 2:37 pm

    I prefer a semi-weedfree garden. The garden however takes liberties and at times becomes so ‘romantic’ as to slap a thistle-head kiss on your shoulder as you walk through the taller than me beans, sunflowers and tansy! Sneaky things they are.

    I do not use any sprays in my garden so put up with the protective ground-covers of natures choosing, hopefully I thin them out before they race to the sun ;)

    Love the book choice and selected quote. It is ‘romantic’ season here at the moment so getting very busy chopping weed seed-heads at the very least. Selected vegetable and herbs are allowed go to seed tho for next year.

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  8. Barbara Shaw on January 26, 2014 at 3:34 pm

    I can’t stand a weed garden.. I save news papers and when the plants get up enough to see, put the papers down 5or 6 thick and put a little dirt on top to hold the papers down.. the papers decay but they usually last till the crop fruits.. no herbicides or sprays.

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  9. Charlie@Seattle Trekker on January 26, 2014 at 9:31 pm

    I love the conversation that spawned from your discussion of a weed free garden. I got a couple of great tips.

    Reply to Charlie@Seattle Trekker's comment

  10. Lorna on January 26, 2014 at 10:31 pm

    My childhood garden was completely taken over by quack-grass. It got so bad as the years went on my parents finally gave up on gardening. But now, my own gardens have very few weeds (I mulch heavily with grass clippings). It’s strange not to have unwanteds in the garden. I do have what others consider weeds, but since everything has been edible so far (dandelion greens, purslane chickweed, etc) I really don’t mind.

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  11. Wendy on January 26, 2014 at 11:59 pm

    I dream of weeds-free, hope for semi-weed free, and usually collapse in defeat to weed-filled by the end of the summer. But with each year the kids get a little older and I am more able to stay on top of things :)

    Reply to Wendy's comment

  12. Annie on January 27, 2014 at 12:03 am

    Definitely semi-weed free. There are some weeds that are a total and invasive pain and those I deal with promptly. Others are easy to deal with at my leisure and, in the mean time, they protect the soil while I’m getting around to planting something intentional there. And others are useful for bees, food, subsoil mining or their aesthetic qualities. These, the chicories, dandilions, vetches, docks, and so forth remain in place (unless it’s an extremely inconvenient place).

    Reply to Annie's comment

  13. Brittany on January 27, 2014 at 6:06 pm

    Weeds are definitely a tricky thing. In my garden at home, there isn’t a single year where there are no weeds. They are such a pain and it is very expensive now a days to buy the right cure to get rid of weeds. I put that Private Detective Pattaya could find out more about what you can do about weeds in your garden legally.

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  14. Chris on January 27, 2014 at 6:26 pm

    I also let a few weeds run around the gardens…actually some are quite beneficial and some are actually quite pretty. Except quackgrass…I haven’t found a use for that yet! :) Weeds can also tell you the condition of your soil…if you know your weeds! :)

    Reply to Chris's comment

  15. Harpa on February 3, 2014 at 12:36 am

    I love the idea of refering to an unruly garden as romantic! Such a wonderful guilt reliever for times where you face a busy life as well as a busy garden. I’m currently only growing in a few containers on my balcony, side-affect of apartment living and making the most out of the more plant friendly winter weather in Dubai, so weeds aren’t an issue but I sure could have used the term romantic for some of my previous gardens and I’m sure it will come in handy in the future ;)

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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