The Dandelion Weed

So I was in the garden on the weekend and it is that time of the year, in winter, where the garden lies dormant, everything sleeps and is quiet, even the grass slows down, halting its climb to the sun. Everything rests except for the weeds. 

The Dandelion – Felt pen and water colour on paper

You see, when I look out my kitchen window and see the veggie beds slumbering quietly nestling the spring veggies seeds that I hope will sprout, my winter rhubarb standing red, green and tall, the camellia tree flourishing and my roses sleeping naked in the soil. All this rest and all I can see are big green blobs of weeds scattered through out the entire garden, I cant help but be annoyed. 

Generally in winter as my garden sleeps I take a little break and stay inside were it is warm and dry. But when those green invaders get too hard to look at, I force myself out there in the cold and wet, on my knees with trowel in hand ready to wage war on the uninvited guests. 

There are a couple different varieties of weeds in my garden there is clover and several different types of grasses, and don’t get me started with the blackberries and their thorns, but the one weed that I notice the most is the Dandelion. Now weeds are not all horrible they are a good sign that the soil maybe lacking in certain elements which needs to be tended to, so it is not all doom and gloom. Weeds are kind of like the coal mine canary quieting its song, weeds are simply a signal that something is not quite right and action needs to occur.

As a very amateur gardener, I am yet to get the routine down for the different seasons and healthy soil (but I am learning), so until then I will have to keep heading out to dig up those weeds. 

During this time of year and after a good session of weed pulling, I am usually muddy, cold, wet and in need of a hot shower. As I put my head back into the spray and close my eyes, every single time the negative imprint of the Dandelion weed yawns cross my minds eye. This is annoying in itself as I am trying to rest and relax but all I can see are weeds those cheeky “smiley” dandelions. This is what has inspired my latest illustration (see above).

Most weeds are relatively easy to pull up from the ground but they all require different techniques. The clover is nit picky, each leaf is small and has its own individual root, however, they are mostly on the surface of the soil and can be easily swept up in big hand fulls. The grassy weeds can be a little harder to pull as they seem to grip the soil with a type of panic, but generally they come up with a firm hand. Blackberries are much harder to get at as it is difficult to find the base for these invaders, as the thorny branches can run for miles under the soil before you can get to the root scorce, but usually with one generous pull you can find the root fairly easily. However for me, I find the dandelions are the trickiest ones, they can have a deep tap root that can sink far into the soil bed and if not removed completely, I will grantee you will be back there again digging up the same plant several weeks later, those dandelions are the worst. 

This time, as I was out digging away, I realised that weeds are not to dissimilar to our own thoughts or the “chatter” in our minds. These thoughts can be seeded and grown by many different people events and influences in our lives, some thoughts – if looked at closely – may not even be yours at all. With this thought I suddenly realised that for a healthy mind, just like healthy soil we must also pay attention to what is growing within ourselves. Thoughts such as, “I can’t do …..”, “They wont like….” “Im not good enough….”, “I don’t belong….”, “No one hears me….”, “Everyone hates me….”, can grow fast and no matter how old or “experienced” a gardener you are, these thoughts can invade your mind easily, to the point of taking over. 

So if we were to apply the concept of the coal miners bird to this gardening/weeding analogy, these negative thoughts, these weeds, are like warning signals that something in your life is not quite right, so let’s do some weeding then shall we.

Maybe it’s not that you “Cant do…. ” – You just need to find out how – first weed pulled. 

Maybe it’s not “They wont like…” – You just need to find the right audience – second weed pulled. 

Maybe it’s not “Im not good enough….” – You will be, if you practice – third weed pulled 

Maybe it’s not “I don’t belong….” – They are just not your type of people/group, and you need to leave – fourth weed pulled.

Maybe it’s not “No one hears me….” – You  just need to change the direction of the conversation – fifth weed pulled.

Maybe it’s not ” Everyone hates me…..” – You just need to focus on the love inside of you not on the external  – Sixth weed pulled.

Now, how was that? Did we get them all? I am sure there are many more weeds waiting to pop up when the next rain comes. Just watch out for the ones that have dandelion roots, you may need to keep on digging until it all comes up. That’s what I will be doing, so see you in the garden someitme, until then, take care, keep digging and be safe. 

Published by allihoward123

Allison Howard main passion has always been story telling works predominantly with illustration and completed her MFA at Monash University, Melbourne 2012. Graduating with the Chancellors award for best Thesis. Allison Has worked and collaborated with many artists and exhibitions, in both Australia and New Zealand. To be kept up to date with Allison's latest activity and to view her current and archived works please visit Instagram @alli.howard123 and hit the follow button.

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