On Being Misunderstood is a feature at The Metropolitan Field Guide which will look at the variety of flora and fauna we live with which are too commonly misunderstood. From plants to wildlife, many of our daily interactions with these species are often negative or confused. Many of these reactions are based on misinformation. This new feature seeks to combat these misconceptions by bringing in guest writers to explain some of these species to us so we all have a better understanding and to set the record straight.
This edition of On Being Misunderstood is written by George Adams author of Gardening for the Birds, a book which I reviewed recently. You can read that review here if you missed it. George has taken on the subject of weeds and their benefits to birds for this post, which was one of my favorite aspects of his book. Weeds have been of much interest to me and I’ve started learning about the weeds I come across and am writing about them in ‘The Virtuous Weed‘.
By George Adams. Author of “Gardening for the Birds. How to create a bird-friendly backyard”. Timber Press.
Weeds are generally misunderstood.
Nobody can really define what makes some plants weeds. Are they plants growing where humans do not want them to grow? Or are they plants that grow vigorously, crowding out other plants that we have judged as more desirable? Or are they plants that spoil the manicured lawn that we slave over? Ralph Waldo Emerson, the 19th century American essayist and poet asked, “What is a weed? He concluded it was “a plant whose virtues have not yet been discovered.”