The Simple Things


Naming the Weeds

- By Jenny King

Sunday. I walk the garden path where sun-blotched paving warms my feet. This border’s rich confusion shows me weeds whose generation­s are fifty years, a hundred years older than the house, the street. I name their blossoming: violet, figwort, viper’s bugloss, vetch.

Our garden logs the years in layers of planted hopes, yet weeds endure, old words tucked under the hem of speech, leafing up unnoticed till a sudden colour lights the hedge bottom and reminds me, sends me back to the flower book to be sure I’m naming them right: enchanter’s nightshade, self-heal, fox-and-cubs.

A rain shower drives me in, to move aside leaf patterned curtains and stare out across a garden full of words. Tansy, etym. unknown, perhaps linked to the Greek for immortalit­y, holds up its yellow buttons. I watch seasons pass while buried names like little bursts of thought spring from neglected corners: coltsfoot, bittercres­s, toadflax, poppy, spurge.

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