Last week our gardens were deluged with yet more rain, so this morning I turned my attention to the bounty of weeds rising amongst the plants. This morning’s read of One Colonial Woman’s World The Life and Writings of Mehetabel Chandler Coit showed me that colonial women shared some of the same concerns. Weeds seem to be the talk of the town for centuries.
Mehetabel’s letter to her daughter Martha (dated July 4, 1726) chronicles her trip to Woodstock during the month of May. Her entry for Wednesday, May 31:
‘we got home about 10 o’clock, not very weary, found all well except the gardin, and that was overRun with weeds……’
While I was out weeding, I noticed a fine crop of ‘volunteers’ from last year’s bountiful morning glories, and with these I am extra careful to protect and nurture. The blue flowers provided an incredible source for dyeing paper and cloth last summer. I am very much hoping that I can count on using them again this year. However, one must really never rely on what will arrive in the garden. We patiently await the sprouting of the seeds—vegetables and herbs, as well as a new batch of plants to dye with: dyer’s broom, dyer’s coreopsis and purple orach—-planted before the six plus inches of rain last week. The talk of the town this week is the rotting of seeds planted just weeks ago. Time will tell.
Michelle Marchetti Coughlin, One Colonial Woman’s World The Life and Writings of MehetabelChandler Coit (University of Massachusetts Press, 2012), p. 133