Nuggets of Wisdom from an Occasional Gardener

Dewberry AKA "devil weed"

Dewberry AKA “devil weed”

For starters, I will have to sheepishly say “Do as I say, not as I do,” with your garden…

As I sized up the task of preparing my flower garden for the new plants my husband and I had been growing in small containers, I dreaded the task of pulling the weeds that had once again taken over my flower bed. I can give you my excuses for not having dealt with them sooner, but suffice it to say it was a job that was long overdue.

Pulling weeds is one thing, but when it comes to pulling out the Dewberry briers, it is another matter altogether. When I first encountered these briers I didn’t know what they were, so I named them “devil weed.” They make long thick roots that go down so deep that when you pull on them, you only succeed in getting the top of the roots. The rest will quickly put up more leaves and continue to grow.

In addition to the long thick roots, Dewberries send out shoots in every direction above the ground; and every place it comes in contact with the soil, it sends down more roots. There is little incentive to tackle the rest of the weeds until you get the Dewberries out of the way, or your hands and arms will get raked with briers with every other fist full of weeds you pull.

The berries that give this brier its name look and taste like blackberries; and in the past we have made the mistake of waiting to harvest the fruit before pulling them up. But picking them is a backbreaking job because the briers only grow close to the ground. Most berries get eaten by birds and other wild animals who return all those seeds to the ground to make even more briers.

We learn from reading Genesis 3:17-19 that part of the curse caused by Adam’s fall was that the ground would bring forth thorns and thistles. There is no doubt in my mind that Dewberries lead the list of thorns in the curse. The shoots that snake across the ground remind me of the serpent.

I couldn’t help but make the parallel between this “devil weed” and the sins we allow to take root in our lives. If we aren’t diligent to keep them out, they will not only take root, but they will send out shoots to further entangle us in sin and perhaps bring others down with us.

The only way I can hope to eliminate this “devil weed” from my garden is to be as thorough as possible to remove every sprig, and follow that up by regularly digging out the new shoots that will continue to come up from the roots, hoping that one day I will gain the victory as the plant runs out of stored energy in the roots.

Just as I can’t get lazy with my garden, I can’t allow sins like laziness, self-indulgence, love of money, gossip, or neglect of prayer and Bible reading to grow in the garden of my heart. I must be diligent in every way to stay close to Jesus and to have a pure heart.


by Janice Green, author of The Creation and The First Christmas

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