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May 2014 and the journey begins...


So, first proper post in my garden journal and all I have at the moment is unidentified plants. We inherited the unknown plants from the previous home owners so it’s all a mystery. But now that I’m here I’m a little more confident so it’s an exciting mystery!

A lot of what I have may be weeds, I don’t know. Some of them have pretty flowers though so I’ll maybe keep them, once I find out what they are. I do have some definite weeds and it’s a constant struggle to get rid of some of the more persistant ones. We spent all of last year trying to get rid of the wild garlic that was springing up over the whole garden and we’ve not seen more than a few little outbreaks so far this year so that might be behind us.

In it’s place though we’ve been overrun by the stuff made of nightmares. We seem to have been invaded by something called Mare Grass or Horse Tail weed (or something) and it’s just an absolute fiasco to try and get rid of. Every time we get a rainy day the stuff seems to spring up overnight. It’s horrible. We no sooner clear a patch than it’s back the next day. I just don’t know what to do :(

Anyway, in the meantime…the good stuff (I think).

First off the camera is this one. It’s a pale blue flower and the plant spreads about 50cm low to the ground.

I like this one. I can’t remember if it was here last year too but if it comes every year I’ll be happy to leave it where it is. There’s that dreaded grass stuff creeping into the photo too. Hate that stuff!

Once I find out which plant this is I can update my lists and I’ll feel like I’m really on my way! It’s a small start but I’m really looking forward to getting to grips with it all, in time.

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Previous post: I have no clue what I'm doing...

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I call it wild Geranium.
Get a can of strong weed killer.
Dispense it into a used washing up liquid bottle.
Keep it by you when clearing a small patch.
Then bend over each stem of Horsetail and spray it down
to the rooot.
Not when its raining !
Thats what I would do.
Clear a small patch as a time, on a dry day.

28 May, 2014


Its hardy geranium, is this one a weed Diane? I rsther like it
Less so the horsetail which may be here from the dinosaurs time but not welcome!

Fife, ignore the rubbish blogs below this, they are pests too.......

28 May, 2014


Total rubbish pg - its on another blog and is called
Geranium Himalayanse. So now yer know !

You can learn a lot from Goy. Do less writing and more
learning Fifegarden.
I learned a lot from all the members.

28 May, 2014


Thank you both! Geraniums! I'm learning already :D

We got some Resolva last week and tried it out with mixed results but we were maybe a little ambitious with how much we tackled at once so I'll just take it slowly and do a small area at a time. It's sometimes not easy to get at them because they're mixed in with the plants but we'll take it a bit at a time.

It's such a big garden (for us) and it seems like we're fighting a losing battle. I'm going to knock it all into shape though and have fun while I'm at it. Up to now it's seemed like a chore because we have no clue what we're doing (which was what prompted me to come looking for a great gardening site). Luckily for us I found Goy!

I did wonder about those blogs below. Seems weird to me that a gardening site is bothered by spammers :/

28 May, 2014


Less writing, Diane? Do I write too much? O_o

28 May, 2014


welcome to goy and your first blog. well done. the geranium is a nice one and could be one of the many named cultivated forms.

Horsetail is indeed a nightmare but if you crush it first then spray with the weed killer it has more of an effect. their stems have a silica type layer that makes it harder to get weedkiller into, hence the benefit of crushing it..

a weed is any plant you don't want or any plant growing in the wrong place.

Post as many pictures as you want. lots of us enjoy trying to identify plants on here. you will also get lots of advice sometimes conflicting but always well meant.

28 May, 2014


No, you don't write too much, Fifegarden... and I think Pam and Seaburngirl's assumption that you mean the horsetail when you mention weed is accurate... I've never had to deal with it, so follow Seaburn's advice...

28 May, 2014


Thanks Bamboo :)

Thank you also, Seaburngirl. I think it will help me get all the new info to 'stick' if I blog about it all and I'm already seeing my garden in a new light. The possibilities I'm envisioning...

I'll try crushing the Horsetail before I spray it. It's horrible, horrible stuff and seems like it's made of teflon, it's so hard to get anything to penetrate it. There's just so much of it we panicked a little bit and probably made it worse by trying to pull and dig it out. It seems like every tiny bit that broke off became a new plant and it was just never ending. We'll take it slow and steady now though and try to beat it into submission :)

28 May, 2014


I do agree Diane about himalayense , the rhs call it himalayan cranesbill, there are it seems cultivated forms......

don't worry Fife .....gardeners are allowed to disagree :0))

Diane, I may have misunderstood, the rubbish I referred to was the ones by Wx123........

28 May, 2014


Good luck with your garden. I hope you get rid of the mares tails. I get one or two occasionally, and I crush them before spraying with weed killer.

28 May, 2014


Thank you, Hywel. I'm going to give the crushing thing a try before spraying. I think it's a long road ahead before they're all gone but I feel better prepared to tackle them now that I know a bit about what they don't like. :)

28 May, 2014


Hi,you were right about the mares tail being like teflon, it use to be used for scouring pans etc, because of the silica in it, Derek.

28 May, 2014


That's interesting, Derek. I think it would probably last longer than a scouring pad too!

28 May, 2014


Cranesbills are lovely plants and easy to grow, as a rule. I mean, they grow well in my garden. Good luck with your garden.
Derek, that's fascinating; you learn something every day!

28 May, 2014


My garden was full of horsetail when we moved here 7 years ago. It's been a long slog but it's almost all gone now. As already suggested, crush it first and then use a weedkiller. The way I did it, and still do, is to wear rubber gloves, spray a bit of roundup onto your glove and then wipe it down the weed as you're crushing. It may need a few goes but persevere and you will eventually get rid of it. Dreadful b%^$*! stuff.

28 May, 2014


Those of us that have or have suffered with horsetail are knowing exactly how you feel.
I can offer no better advice than already given. It's a pain in the proverbial!
Nice geranium and it's not often we see an ID question go unanswered. So I'm sure you'll have little to worry about there. There are some very knowledgeable folks on GOY

28 May, 2014


Oh dear, digginfit, I hope I haven't got another 6 years of the stuff. I'm at the end of my rope with it already :( I'll add your glove tip to the crushing thing and hopefully we'll make a dent in the infestation.

Scottish, everyone has been really helpful and friendly so I've got high hopes that some of it will eventually rub off on me and I'll have half a clue on what I'm doing :D

28 May, 2014


Seems to me you need a bit of kit, like a hammer and a brick to place under the Horsetail, then wop it.

29 May, 2014


good luck getting rid of the horsetail, the geranium is lovely, I'd got several types and they all grow very well.

29 May, 2014


Don't worry, when I say my garden was full of it, I mean FULL! Now I just see an occasional stray spring up so I try to nab it as soon as I see it. But I feel for you. Just as an added thought, the roundup is unlikely to completely kill it off at first go. If it grows back, nip off new growth at ground level, it will help to weaken the plant and then when you use the roundup again you stand more chance of the roundup working. At least that's how it worked for me.

29 May, 2014


GQT on radio 4 had a listeners answer , it was to turn that particular area into lawn!
not sure if it worked.......

29 May, 2014


Thank you Louisa, I think I'll see what other geraniums are out there as this one of mine seems to cope really well with neglect so they must be pretty robust.

Diggin fit, I've been using Resolva 24, is Roundup better do you think? We've had some success with the resolva (I think that's what it's called) but it's going to be a long haul I think. If we don't get to the bottom of it this year we're prepared for next. We've noticed that it dies off completely in the winter when the snow comes and then in the early spring these 'things' sprout around the garden. We've been calling them The Leopard Things as they look like long skinny mushrooms with a leopard colouring. Now I realise they're they horsetail spore things so any we don't get this year that come back as leopard things we can sort out before they come to anything. It's when the green bits start coming that it all breaks loose so we'll keep a handle on it this time.

Pam, a lawn! Blimey! I think this stuff would make the worst lawn ever, but desperation might make it an attractive proposition, ahahaha.

29 May, 2014


Resolva 24 contains diquat and glyphosate, but is no more effective against horsetail than glyphosate on its own. The cheapest way is to buy glyphosate concentrate, not Round Up - given you'll be using it for some time (I hesitate to say years) the economics of it do matter. When you mix the glyphosate concentrate in a sprayer, add a little squirt of washing up liquid - helps it to stick and penetrate.

29 May, 2014


Thanks for the tip :)

I'll see about getting plain glyphosate when the Resolva runs out. We got a huge container of it with an attached sprayer thing so when it runs out we could maybe use that to mix the new stuff in.

29 May, 2014


We bought our 5l farm strength from the local cattle market......its very strong so you have to be careful.......

I think the lawn theory was constant mowing would weaken it.....didn't hear if it worked or not.....

29 May, 2014


From trials here so far, every tiny bit that gets broken off seems to make a new plant to deal with so the mowing thing makes me shudder, heheh.

29 May, 2014


That geranium is really pretty and there are lots more to choose from, I like them because they don't mind how ill treated they get, they just seem to bounce back again, they also do well under hedgerows in shady places, in fact they often have a mind of their own and choose their own home, lol.....
I sympathise with you as regards the mares tail, its a b....r, I've been trying to get rid of the biddy stuff for over 40yrs , in my back garden its contained to the area behind my fishpond so I have to pull each bit as it pops up, daren't treat that area with anything because of my pond, however in the front it comes up amongst our pavers on the driveway so that gets the hard stuff, unfortunately my neighbour cultivates that and ground elder, grrrr!!!!!!

29 May, 2014


Blimey!! 40 years! I couldn't bear it. I was hoping to have mine licked by this time next year, ahahah!

A lot of what is in my garden seems to be blues and purples so I'm going to see about getting some other colours introduced and will need something that's quick and easy for me while I learn. Geraniums sound just the ticket :D

29 May, 2014


I advise caution, Fifegarden - there's an old saying that you need to live with a garden for a year before replanting or changing it drastically, simply so you can see what's in it - things pop up you didn't know were there, so what's blues and purples now might later be lots of yellows and reds instead...

30 May, 2014


We've been here a few years Bamboo, this is just the first of me taking an interest in the garden beyond tackling weeds.

30 May, 2014


For the last couple of years a mallard nested in the trough containing hardy geraniums and some thrift, this year when she came to look there wasn't a speck of green and she went next door, I was convinced they were dead thanks to her big feet!
well you should see it now, as lovely as ever with mounds of green with cerise flowers.......I love them, the garden here being open north and east everything has to be bone hardy!

the little ones are nice too like pink ballerina

30 May, 2014


Ugh mares tail. My back garden has a major infestation of the blasted stuff. As we had everything ripped out a few months ago we've been digging the roots out (being particularly pedantic in the borders). It's taken a good month or two to even start to come back. Anything we spot in the dug area gets pulled up. The lawn area (which is taking ages to dig) we're planning to hoe and spray tomorrow in the hopes it will hit it again and give the turf (when we get it) a chance. Mares tail doesn't generally survive in lawn though as it keeps getting mowed off and the tuberous roots eventually run out of energy stores.

Last year we had a go at the patio area (old patio), we strimmed it all to about 2 inch high the sprayed it. It didn't kill it completely but it did make a difference. Where we've broken it off and sprayed it in the new patio it has killed it.

The key seems to be to keep at it, hoe regularly and try not to let the stuff see the light. Eventually it will die. Good luck

There are loads of geranium varieties around all very pretty. They'll grow anything from about 4foot high to 4" high and grow pretty much anywhere. Lovely plants (I currently have 4 lol)

31 May, 2014

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