Year of the Weed: Spring in My Garden

I’m not sure how it got here so fast, but March is upon us already. Spring will officially start this weekend, with the move of the clock. It was a great relief, after four long years of drought, to finally have a rainy winter in California. Not just any rainy winter, mind you, but a record-breaking one at that! Our water reservoirs are now full and overflowing, and our snow-caps are at record deep. We sure needed the water, but many of us were no longer used to the long stretches of dreary, wet weather. Recently, however, the days of rain have started to be interrupted by longer and longer intervals of sunshine, and hints of spring are all about us.

I mostly avoided going out to my yard all winter long. Even on the rare days of no rain the garden was cold, sodden and muddy. A few weeks ago I had no choice but to get out and prune my fruit trees, for they were about to come out of their winter dormancy. And that was when I saw them: the vast fields of weeds everywhere I looked!

There are always weeds in my yard, of course. I fight them year after year, from spring all the way to fall. But I have never seen anything like this before. This year is truly a record-breaking year for weeds! I imagine their seeds lay in the ground for years, lurking and waiting for the right conditions. Now, with all the water, the conditions were apparently right, and thousands of weed seeds germinated and sprouted. The result: weeds all over my lawn; weeds where wild flowers used to grow; weeds under trees and even in the shade!

This, for example, is a spot in our yard that is usually covered in spring by a field California poppies. There are just a few of those growing there now. Most of that green is plain weeds…

A field of weeds in my garden

When I saw the enemy my heart sank. Fighting weeds is daunting on a regular year, but this was way beyond anything I attempted before. So I did what any reasonable mother would do: I tried to bribe my kids to do the weeding for me. I actually offered them money to do it. Apparently, though, I didn’t offer enough, for they all claimed they had better things to do. Threats, pleading and quilting didn’t work, either. So guess who has been spending hours plucking weeds this week?


I cleared most of the lawn (for now), and one of the flower patches. There are still many more spots to tackle. I know I’m fighting a losing battle, but I’m trying to restore some balance here. Besides, I secretly enjoy weeding. It’s a bit like darning: a repetitive action that uses your hands but leaves your mind free to roam. I actually enjoy sitting outside, in the sun, getting mud under my fingernails. It’s relaxing, almost meditative. And at the end there is a huge pile of green materials to add to my compost bin! (Worry not. I never add weeds with seeds…).

All that outdoor activity, basking in the sun and interacting with plants put me in spring mode. After months of looking at several pieces of beautiful wool-embroidered cottons, I decided to turn them into spring totes:

Embroidered spring flower fabric

Here is a finished one, from the front:

Spring flower tote front

 And from the back:

Spring flower tote back

I’ve also been working on finishing a bunch spring-themed journal covers, and designing some spring-inspired greeting cards. Spending time outside the sewing room has once again proven to be inspiring and energizing!

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