I’ve written numerous blogs about fruit and vegetables, cycling adventures, basketball stories, random thoughts of my strange mind, total fiction, serious articles about the Greater Delaware Procrastination Society and my views on world news and politics. I was searching for another topic to add to the list. I’m not smart enough to write about religion, world economics, the reason typewriter keyboards are the way they are, why there are so many people wanting to move from California to Idaho, or the scientific reason maple tree helicopters always land in my gutters and not the neighbor’s. I was relaxing on the patio working on my tan, and sipping an ice cold glass of sweet peach tea when my wife suggested I do something about the weeds in the backyard. I told her I had nothing against the weeds, and in fact weeds sometimes make a yard healthier. She rolled her eyes, and pointed to the area outside our bedroom windows. I sighed, got up, ambled to the area where she stood pointing at the ground.
“Can you get rid of whatever this stuff is? It’s taking over.”
I pulled one weed, added it to the yard waste bag and returned to my comfy chair.
“Is that it? One weed is not going to make a difference.”
“The longest journey begins with one step,” I replied.
“Yeah! You’re going on a long journey to the moon,” she said.
I thought about Ralph Kramden.
“If you’re not going to do anything, could you at least look on the Internet and find out what this is, please?”
I exhaled deeply, and headed inside. I figured it would be easier to write about gardening than actually doing some physical work. Voila! I had a new topic for a series of blogs, or at least one article.
Are you one of those gardeners who loves dandelions? Is crabgrass your friend? Do you enjoy dollarweed or white clover? Do you yearn for allergy season when the different types of ragweed are at their peak? If so, you’re gonna love Creeping Charlie. In case you aren’t familiar with Charlie, he’s not a weird dude going around in a raincoat frightening little kids and grandmothers. Charlie is not flashy. You won’t even see him when he starts to invade your lawn. His name is fitting. Charlie creeps slowly, and before you even notice him… Bam! He’s gained a foothold.
As with other plants, there are some benefits to Creeping Charlie. First might be the minty smell. Duh! It is a member of the mint family. Historically, it has been used medicinally as a cure for numerous ailments. Asthma, treating lead poisoning, as an anti-inflammatory, to treat ulcers and lung issues to list a few. According to Omaha Organics, it is being evaluated as a treatment for certain types of cancer. Enlightened modern cultures still use Creeping Charlie to treat health issues as varied as regulating menstruation to flushing the kidneys, treating arthritis and rheumatism, healing blisters and sores, and improving the complexion. Could it possibly be a cure for certain viruses? Only time will tell. The potential is masked only by our imaginations.
Before hops were used in beer, Creeping Charlie added a bitter flavor to the brews. It is rich in vitamin C and can be used in soups, or to make tea. One strong con would be its toxicity to horses, cattle and hogs. So, if you live on a farm with livestock, Creeping Charlie could be a severe threat. I would not consider feeding it to my household pets, and you may not want to supplement Fluffy’s or Fido’s diet with Charlie. I wonder if burning it would chase away mosquitos.
If for some reason you choose to eliminate Charlie from your yard, you will discover it a formidable opponent. However, there are numerous strategies to wage this war. Some involve herbicides, which I wouldn’t use because of Fluffy and Fido, while others can be made from ordinary household ingredients such as Borax, dish soap, vinegar, salt and other safe additives. Check YouTube. There are hours of videos to watch while passing the time sitting in your comfy chair while Charlie continues its invasion.
There is a man at my church whose lawn is immaculate. Not just lush and green, but flawless and impeccable. It looks better than the fifteenth fairway at Augusta National Golf Club prior to a certain tournament, which I can’t name because of copyright issues. I haven’t mastered the complexities of copyright law, and I don’t want to get into trouble. Each blade of grass is cut to a precise height, and is the perfect shade of deep green. They even face the same direction. All year round! And he lives in Illinois. The edges would pass inspection by the toughest drill sergeant in the Marines and my mother-in-law, who might be more critical. I can add the line about my mother-in-law without fear because she never reads anything I write. No weed dare pop its head above ground, and no pet would insult the yard by thinking of… you know.
But take heart, gardeners of the world. All is not lost. If Charlie has invaded your yard, and you’ve given up the battle, there is a silver lining to the cloud. You have an endless supply of tea leaves.