I did a double take the second time I saw the two of them together. “Creeping Charlie,” as we call it, is so common that it was no surprise to see it growing in the mulch under the cherry tree. Glechoma Hederacea, along with its cousin Lamium (otherwise known as deadnettle) has been infesting my garden beds for years.
Upon closer inspection, one of these lush green weeds with scalloped-edged leaves was different. It was a stray Lemon Balm; something to put in my water to infuse it with a lemony taste. Water would be rendered quite bitter if it were infused with “ground ivy” as some call it.
Both are technically weeds. A weed is supposedly an unwanted plant in a space where it was not intentionally planted. That would fit the description of half the plants in the garden! Many of the beds that I love the most are a result of plants that came up on their own.
The Glechoma, or “gill-over-the-ground,” is a valuable plant in its own right, providing an early food source for the bees. I prefer it along the roadsides rather than the garden beds, but it continues to grow year after year even through the coldest of our southern winters.
One of my friends likes to put it in her salads. She will never hear the end of it from me about how she persuaded me to taste it. Big mistake! The plant is supposed to have medicinal qualities and is high in vitamin C, but I’d never eat enough to get the benefit.
Many weeds are lookalikes for more valuable plants, but each has its own place.
We hear a lot these days about “income inequality” and how that should be eliminated. Jesus told us “For the poor you have with you always” (John 12:8a, NKJV).
As part of a preacher’s family, I am acutely aware of “income inequality.”
Paul also said he knew both poverty and riches.
“I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:11b-13).
We can all relate to this on some level, sometimes in the same week! As an American, I know that our standard of living is extremely high in comparison to world standards. I have close friends who have very little in the way of the world’s goods, but are thankful for what they do have.
Other close friends have far more in the way of earthly possessions. Our family does without many of the things our peers consider “necessities.” When bills cannot be paid on time, we feel poor. Do we envy those who are better off? Not a bit. We rejoice in their successes!
What if we dragged the affluent down to the level of the less fortunate? How does that help those in need? Our happiness should never depend on a favorable comparison to others. It should not depend on material goods at all!
“Better is a dry morsel with quietness
Than a house full of feasting with strife” (Proverbs 17:1).
What if all the plants in the garden were equal, but they were all the less desirable ones? What if all the Lemon Balm was replaced by Creeping Charlie? Let us build up, not drag down.