Gardening is power. Sure, you might think of gardening as the hobby of grandmotherly types, but gardening is all about mankind’s endless battle to dominate and control the world. We see a plot of land covered in happy native flora and we decide, “Nope. Today you will do exactly as I say, no matter how much time, effort, and expensive fertilizer I have to pour into you.”
This battle of wills often becomes clearest when your garden is suddenly invaded by weeds. The appearance of unauthorized plants can trigger a passionate reaction from your typical gardener, who sees weeds as Mother Nature’s shock troops, softening up your defenses in preparation for a full-scale attack. But the term “weed” is a complicated one. Weeds are often simply the plants native to the area—and they’re also usually the evolutionary champs who have survived for millennia while their prettier, more delicate cousins have perished.
Not all weeds are ugly. Any plants typically categorized as weeds can actually be very beneficial to your garden. Instead of reflexively removing weeds, take a moment to identify the invaders and make a more rational decision. Here are 20 garden weeds you actually shouldn’t get rid of.