I found a friend to our industry in Steve Hartman, the CBS reporter famous for his “On the Road” segments. A couple of years ago, he publicly admitted to his millions of viewers that he was a weed addict. Not that kind of weed.

He quipped, “I have a confession to make. Even though I only do this at my place in upstate New York — after the kids are in bed — the fact is, I have a weed addiction. I just can't stop pulling the things. Mugwort, Canada thistle and leafy goldenrod are some of my favorites. I realized the extent of my addiction only recently, after my cameraman interviewed my wife Andrea about it.

‘He goes out at 7:00 at night and weeds until dark. I mean sometimes he's out there past dark.’”

We’re not talking about a postage stamp-sized lot. He weeds 4½ acres. And his plan was to turn his weedy hillside into a prairie of native grasses and wildflowers.

He sought help from Neil Diboll, owner of Prairie Nursery in Westfield, Wis.

“He got me hooked on weeds through gateway plants like purple coneflower, compass plant and smooth aster,” Steve reported.

Steve got his meadow, but he couldn’t see the flowers for the weeds, he said. Weeds were his nemesis, but Steve eventually found a zen-like feeling while weeding. It was no longer a chore, but a joy.

His nursery friend Neil, who Steve nicknamed his “dealer,” can relate.

“Weeding can induce a meditative state,” Neil said. “And that is therapy for all of us in this crazy world we live in when you can just tune everything out and focus on one, single-minded purpose.”

Weeding may not feel like a day at the spa or an hour of yoga for everyone, but it can be therapeutic and it can be decent exercise. Most of the health apps include gardening for users to record steps and exercise.

This year, Steve says he’s over his weeding obsession, but he’s still got that 4½-acre native meadow, and he still clips “the occasional knotweed.”

For those obsessing over the weeds — whether they be the vegetative type or a metaphor for some of the cruddy things in life – it’s my hope that we can instead focus on the loveliness of the world and be able to see the flowers in spite of the weeds.

I wish you all a delightful holiday season!

krodda@gie.net
Photo by Sally Ullman Photography and provided by the family.