Mother's column – creating order in the jungle


Christian Life

Neline, CNE.news

Colourful plants. Photo Unsplash, Erda Estremera

When I think of the backyard of my parents, I see a sea of hydrangeas in beautiful colours, a perfectly maintained hedge, and freshly mowed grass. For as long as I can remember, my father has been always taking responsibility for all that beauty. I do not know any better than the backyard belongs to the duty of the man. At Jan's parental home, the yard is mainly the mother's domain. He does not know any better either.

After our wedding, that does not immediately lead to problems. In my opinion, our yard is allowed to have the appearance of a dormitory. After all, Jan is still a student at the time. But his thesis gets finished, and in the meantime, we are living in a neat street with tidy yards. Fortunately, 'jungle' is the newest trend in lifestyle – regarding the yard, we soon become the most modern family in the neighbourhood.

Because yeah, where do you have to start if you do not know the difference between weeds and botanical riches that the previous house owners left us? One January, my father helps me prepare the yard for winter, even though I doubt whether it is the right season for that. In any case, everything starts growing enthusiastically again. Thus, I am sure that it has not harmed the plants.


Neline is married and the mother of five: Martha (8), Abel (6), Jolijn (5), Reinout (3) and Sifra (0).

In good spirits, I take the weeder myself. "Does anyone know what kind of plant this is?" I text in our family chat. "It is sprouting everywhere." Maybe it is one of those nice hollyhocks, I think. Then I certainly want to keep it.

But my younger brother soon responds: "I hope for you that it is not a Japanese knotweed." And indeed, the picture that he sends looks an awful lot like the plant in our yard. I sigh. Finally, I started to like gardening, and now everything will be overgrown by ineradicable superweeds.

"Does anyone know if this is the Japanese knotweed?" I doubtingly ask my Facebook friends. In the meantime, Jan starts to dig out the young sprouts already – that is a job for men, we agreed. Nothing is allowed to stay behind. We cannot even dump the knotweed in our organic waste container because even the fragmented pieces can grow roots again.

However, suddenly some of my Facebook friends respond to my question. "It is the pokeweed", they confidently announce. I google the plant, and indeed, I recognise them immediately: these plants grew here abundantly a year earlier too. Oh well, at least they are exterminated at root and branch now. Just leave that to Jan.



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