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Tangled Up in the Weeds.. again

Tangled Up in the Weeds.. again

In 2007, we started BLOG Zentangle and began our enjoyable series of conversations within our Zentangle community.

In reading through these blog posts with their insightful comments, we decided to bring a few of them to your attention from time to time. It is easy, for me anyway, to sometimes think of old information as stale information. But these insights and conversations are anything BUT stale!


Molly writes...

According to Wikipedia; A weed is a plant considered undesirable in a particular situation, "a plant in the wrong place". The term "weed" has no botanical significance, because a plant that is a weed in one context is not a weed when growing in a situation where it is in fact wanted, and where one species of plant is a valuable crop plant, another species in the same genus might be a serious weed. The term weed also is applied to any plant that grows or reproduces aggressively, or is invasive outside its native habitat.
I have recently been fascinated with weeds. Maybe it is because I visit my Mom’s house often, where there is no distinction between weed and purposeful planting. This magical yard could be the ultimate retirement home for “so called” weeds. There is no discrimination of which plants should live in this yard. All are welcome. It is, shall we say controlled chaos of all kinds of plants and mosses all spreading themselves out freely. Some of this collection was planted over the years and birds or the wind is perhaps to thank for contributing some of it. This very different type of yard fits the house and the people who live there and adds to its charm. And visiting it often does make me wonder about weeds.
Why it is that one plant can be considered a weed and another not? Or even more curious how can one plant be labeled as a weed if it grows in one place but not another. Who decides which plants are called weeds? And who decides which plants are deemed beautiful or beneficial in one place and not in another. I can understand shaping and sculpting gardens but it is not a little funny how we work tirelessly to keep one flower alive in certain place and then go out of our way to get rid of them in another place. I love Dandelions and Queens Ann’s Lace. I love how they appear in strange places like stonewalls and cracks in sidewalks and concrete. How inspiring that a dandelion can surprise us with bright yellow flowers and can grow with such vigor with such little support. Dandelions have all sorts of medicinal and herbal uses and are 100% edible, yet so many try to rid their yards of them.
One of the most recognizable Zentangle patterns we use was indeed inspired by a weed, (I mean plant) that grows here in New England. It is known by a few names such as Pokeroot, Pokeberry or Pokeweed. I find them to be quite amazing in appearance. Their beautiful purple berries are mesmerizing and their ability to grow almost overnight is fascinating. And although the plant itself can be poisonous it also has medicinal benefits if used specifically. What alluring properties for something that can grow with almost no soil. Last year one of the most spectacular pokeroot plants appeared in my Mom and Rick’s front yard. Bursting through a space between the sidewalk and the driveway. It of course was welcomed with praise and offered a permanent home with other plants formally known as weeds.

This year I have been watching as we approach summer to see if the giant pokeroot will return to my Mom and Rick’s yard for us all to enjoy again. I started to look in other parts of the yard and smiled to myself because I realized that their whole yard was much like a Zentangle. The subtle suggestion of pathways and walls lay down like a string and each spring begins a new season of getting covered by wild growth. Each species weaving its way this way and that revealing beautiful blossoms and fruits. The collection of different plants covers spaces enthusiastically knowing that their life on this land is free and unrestricted just like tangles on a tile. There are no rules for these tangled masterpieces here and each plant is deeply routed like black ink proudly bearing its unique style. This garden celebrates the beauty in the not so common, sees splendor in the personality of things, and illuminates the not so perfect. If I were weed I cannot imagine a more beautiful place to grow up.

Enjoy, water and nurture all the seeds in your tangled garden. Embrace what they become and remember to look for beauty as they grow… no matter how tangled up it gets. Because when you truly look for beauty … you will see it.

Molly Hollibaugh


  • What a wonderful peek into the garden, I can almost see you smiling as you walk about looking around.

    Sandra Chatelain on

  • What a beautiful story and lovely pictures. I really enjoyed reading it. I live in a community where unfortunately, we are not allowed to let our weeds grow. I feel that some weeds are even more beautiful than some actual flowers. So happy for you that you are able to visit your Mom & Rick’s house and be around all of the beauty that is there!

    Barbara Burgess on

  • Love this story and the pics. Surely you know that people in the South ate “poke salat”, ie, I assume the leaves were boiled and eaten like greens. 😝 The berries are poisonous. We have a wildflower garden and hubby wanted to cut down some weeds around it. But I said NO, I want to see those Zentangle Poke Leaves and Poke Berries. And sure enough!

    Lynnda Tenpenny on

  • Beutiful way and fantastic descripcion, Congratulation Molly!

    eglee on

  • Another great story Molly. Thank you. I gain so much food for thought and wonderful insight on life in general whenever you share your thoughts. You are my modern day muse. God bless.

    Linda Lusk on

  • Beautifully written, Molly! There are persistent “weeds” that grow in my garden — I have to admire their vigor. Seems I turn my head and lo! they tower above the other plants. I’m looking for a little “Name that Weed” book, so I can call them by their true name..

    Emily M. M. on

  • I love this blog, Molly.
    I moved to my house a year ago and the previous owner had done very little with the garden. It backs onto rolling, open, green, Welsh fields and has just a post and wire fence as a separation. The “weeds” sneak in but the joy for me is the variety of plants and wildlife I see in those fields and in my garden. Neighbours all around have built walls, barriers and fences to keep that nature out so that their gardens are “perfect” and not “ruined” by the intruders. In a setting that looks out on unbridled open and beautiful nature thus requires a huge amount of work and, to me can look sterile.
    I see so many comparisons with approaches to Zentangle. The joy of tangling is to allow a freedom of creating to let what happens, happen. When we try to control what appears and what we do, there is a potential for stiffness, visual and emotional “stress” to appear and the more we try to control it the stronger that becomes.
    Yes, I “weed” and tidy my garden of the very invasive plants, but only to allow the smaller ones to shine and others to have a chance to show themselves.
    I have plans for my garden but those plans will definitely include allowing nature, including the “weeds” and unexpected plants, to have their place.

    Jo Quincey (Zenjo CZT) on

  • Love this post. It makes me more aware of when and how I judge things, people, plants and life. 🙏 Thank you.

    Leslie Hancock on

  • Oh, Molly, what a beautiful story! I enjoy my “weeds”, too. In fact, this year, after we had to remove two trees due to disease :-(, I planted some flower seeds and low and behold, smack dab in the middle was a stalk of corn…not the edible kind, but Maize (Indian Corn). So many people have been amused by this unusual planting and have asked why I didn’t pull it out. It is another beautiful plant in nature. On the other hand, I have my 8 grandkids plant flowers in their own portion of my gardens and they don’t always get here to “weed”, so we enjoy watching the various green additions and then they do pull them out if they don’t want them in their garden. What a great parallel to Zentangle! Thanks for your inspiration!

    Mary Stayner on

  • Beautifully written Molly and so beautifully descriptive. I love your photos. I’m a garden lover and make a point of mixing plants that have been labelled weeds but are food for our bees and butterflies with plant’s that are labelled magnificent specimens. The humble dandelion is the first food our bees here in Ireland get. Thank you for writing so beautifully ♥️🙏☘️

    Angelina Arcari on

  • I think I would love your Mom & Rick’s garden. While on road trips I enoyed looking at the so called weeds growing between the highway & the farmers fields. Always amazed me how nature did a better job of designing a garden then people sometimes.

    Michele Couture on

  • I found beautiful flower purple bell shaped 18 of them growing along with gently curving stem at about 6 foot high. It’s a weird I was told. I told my husband I loved it. He gently gathered the seeds and in the spring he replanted those weights for me now I get about a dozen of them every year and I love them.

    LIsa Hoesing on

  • I was told that a weed is simply a plant that reproduces itself. Some of my weeds are the prettiest plants in my backyard, and I don’t even have to take care of them because they take care of themselves!!

    Deborah Alborell on

  • thank you Molly.

    I believe there are no such things as weeds ⭐️🌱

    Karen Izzi on

  • Aah, but even kudzu has lovely flowers….

    Pamela STEVENSON CZT on

  • In my yard in the spring, I have many volunteer violets whose happy little faces make me smile. Then as the weather gets warmer, I welcome the profusion of bright yellow dandelion blossoms. I am not always so welcoming of the pokeweed because it sometimes wants to dominate were other plants that I love to see are growing. Mother Nature has such a lovely palette and sense of humor, much, as Molly suggests, like a Zentangle drawing with all things welcome in their space. thank you, Molly, for this lovely insight.

    Pamela STEVENSON CZT on

  • I would think even this garden would not ever want to include kudzu! In a flash it would cover everything, even the house, with its green leaves.

    Amy Gill on

  • Lovely story and pictures.

    Mary Kay Watson on

  • What beautiful insite to all things livivg in harmony.

    Leah Gasser on

  • I love this post about weeds. I love our lawn with wildflowers. If i had to choose i would prefer a field with wildflowers, the kind like the hayfields in the mountains that bloom so beautiful in spring. the hayfields are so lively and attrack bees and butterflies .

    jeannine on

  • Also there is no such thing as “a House Plant” . As a former plant store owner all plants grow outside somewhere..

    Bruce Thom on

  • I can’t get the photo of my drawing to paste, but it is a drawing of a dandelion and it says “ Some see weeds others see wishes”. I love it.

    Debbie Behringer on

  • On my tea tag today, this is what I read: “The difference between a flower and a weed is judgement”.

    Jackie on

  • Hmmm. I will begin to look differently at the what-I-call-a-weedy-mess on my terrace. I watered yesterday thinking I would make it out to pull the “weeds.” Didn’t make it so they’re still there. Maybe I’ll just get inspiration from them and tangle today!

    Daryle Coleman on

  • Thanks for revisiting this blog post. It is just as delightful and relevant as the first post! ❤️

    Kathy Y. on

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