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A bit of a weed


One of the things I really enjoy about gardening is a bit of hand weeding. It involves myriad decisions about what to leave and what to keep and I have a lovely little daisy trowel which makes life easy for getting out celandines (no daisies sadly for me).

We have an abundance of the ivy-leaved speedwell (Veronica Hederifolia) which has no decorative value at all but is at least easy to get out, so there I was yesterday picking it out when I noticed a few handfuls of rather different seedlings, the Welsh Poppy: Meconopsis Cambrica. I dont know whether they will turn out to be yellow or orange. They are coming into flower already at the top of the garden by the slow-worms which is a bit of a sun-trap, so I shouldnt have long to wait and either colour is welcome to me: I’m really pleased to have given them room to grow.

I’m rather less pleased with the huge quantities of aquilegia which is threatening everything in the top border. They may have been planted originally but now threaten to become a menace. The problem is that I Iove aquilegia when it is a good strong colour, but cant abide that nasty brown pink you often get. Moreover this is my sunny border: I dont need shade-tolerating plants here!

So I need to wait untill it flowers before deciding what to throw out, what to keep, and what to move. In the meantime all I can do is surreptitiously keep it away from the best of the other flowers.

I have also been weeding out garlic mustard. We have a sward of wild garlic by the stream at the bottom which I will keep for the flowers and smell (not everything has to smell of Lavender) and I have planted up some chillis, so at this rate we need never want for condiments. I transplanted a lot of garlic mustard earlier in the year as I wasnt able to tell the seedlings apart from honesty. Now that the first of the honesty is in flower the mustard has to go before it too breaks into flower and takes over the universe. In the end the leaves weren’t that similar but I had forgotten and now feel a bit of a fool. I must refer to my Keble Martin next year – my bible of wild flowers.

I also need to decide how many of the dog violets to take out. I welcomed them with open arms when they first came out because the weather was so bitter and they are cheerful little flowers, but now I worry about their naughty invasive habits and want something larger to fill their place. However, I shall leave them under the shrubs as the colour seems to survive much better there.

I am also waiting and seeing about weeding with the woodland garden at the bottom. The trees are really dense on the other side of the stream and overhang. At present the Alder has yet to come into leaf so there is the occasional shaft of light, but I doubt this will continue once the trees have fully greened up. Moreover much of the area is very boggy and flooded for large parts of the winter. So any plant that can cope with conditions is probably welcome – at least until I can go through Bernard’s list of woodland plants and plug a few gaps!

I am a little worried by the bluebells coming into flower there. They seem so stocky and I should hate to have Spanish bluebells this close to the countryside. Butchers wood close by is an ancient woodland and will be clothed in bluebells soon. The Spanish bluebell is a bit of a thug and is quietly despatching our native species which is hopeless. I read the other day that Britain has a third of all bluebells – well worth holding onto.

There is also a very handsome member of the umbrella family developing which I shall keep untill I can see how well it flowers. I am surprised that nature provides us with so many members of the family Umbelliferae, but we have cultivated so few. They are really majestic and the bees and butterflies love them. Talking of which I have still not done anything about my invasion of the lawn by dandelions and caught a couple of goldfinches eating the seeds this morning, as well as several bees having breakfast. The more I keep them the more I think we are being conned by garden centres to ever get rid of them.

As you can see I have a bit of a love hate relationship with weeds, but this just makes it more fun : decisions, decisions and no responsibility.

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it is a hard job being a gardener at times !!

25 Apr, 2010


sounds like you`v got some lovely weeds !

25 Apr, 2010


They do say that a weed is a plant in the wrong place, don't they - well, I still call 'Hairy Bittercress' a weed, wherever it is in the garden. It lurks under other plants - and if I miss one, that's about 50 new babies to seek and destroy! lol.

My lawns are covered in dandelions, too - I haven't a hope of getting rid of them all. Invasion is the right word there!

I agree, though - I like weeding, and apart from little stinging nettles that also hide and jump out to 'get' me, I can handle most of them. Red clover is a pain - so is bindweed, though.

25 Apr, 2010


A lovely informative blog, well written and interesting. I do like daisies on the lawn but not dandelions and some other "weeds" are so pretty I just leave them if I am in the mood or drag them out if in a mood.Did that make sense? lol

25 Apr, 2010


I know the feeling - but very therapeutic I find!

25 Apr, 2010


I think if Hairy Bittercress had a nicer habit we might have given it a nicer name! I too get the little"£$%^*!! but there is no question about whether that has to go!
I love daisies on a lawn but I'n not sure how to get them. A neighbour has some so I might just watch to see what they do. I doubt they would appreciate the question " How do you get such nice weeds?"

25 Apr, 2010


It is buttercup that has me dithering at the minute .I have taken most of them out but some are hidden amongst my other plants so they will stay. I also leave a couple of bits of stinging nettle for the butterflies.

25 Apr, 2010


Your weeds sound so much nicer than mine Sarah! I agree with you about Spanish bluebells, they don`t even have a scent either. :o(

25 Apr, 2010


i agree about the grannies bonnets, though I got a clematis flowered one last ear. really pretty pink too. I get the muddy purple ones too.

25 Apr, 2010

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