You have not heard from me these last five weeks or so because of Internet connection problems.
We all have weeds. Although some, like dandelions and crabgrass, are common to us all, we also each have our particular weeds. Just like rhododendrons require acid soil, some weeds require the specific conditions we happen to have in each of our gardens. These are our very own weeds, different from those of our friends and fellow gardeners.
I have had just two gardens, and the weeds in my old garden and at Roche Fleurie are different, even if there is some overlap, broad-leaved dock (Rumex obtusifolius) is one of them. I have also known the gardens of numerous friends, and each garden also had its specific weeds.
For instance my friend Gwynne's vegetable garden is in full sun on a sandy south-facing slope, a spot where purslane (Portulaca oleracea) is king. Here at Roche Fleurie, a few summers ago I tried growing an improved, culinary variety of purslane (larger than the weed). It is supposed to be healthy and very good in salads. It was a disaster. It did not do well at all. It probably was a blessing in disguise as the only place I had seen that cultivated purslane grown was at the Montréal Botanical Garden (which includes a magnificent vegetable garden), and you could see it was difficult to control, having invaded all its neighbours.
In my old garden, the number one weed was "Lady's Thumb" (Polygonum persicaria). It came up everywhere. It had the advantage of being a slight plant you did not readily notice among others. However it was persistent, coming back all through the season.
At Roche Fleurie, the most common weed is what I think is a type of short sedge, which I have not yet identified. It is not very troublesome as it only grows from seed mostly in the spring, and if you have a good go at it early in the season, you might have a respite till next spring.
A more troublesome weed we also have, only sprouts under the snow and grows right after winter. It is a tiny thing, which is still unidentified and which I am convinced I brought in with some rock garden plant. Actually it has an attractive tiny foliage, but by the time the snow melts, there are literally hundreds of them where in the previous November not one was to be seen.
I do not include as weeds the plants we purposely bring in our gardens which turn out to be too successful. I have several small sedums that falls into that category.
Unexpectedly though, some of these plants can be very successful for some years and then peter out on their own. Still in the garden of my friend Gwynne, Johnny-jump-ups used to proliferate. I did not have any and wanted to establish it in my first garden. She would give me as much as I wanted, but it never took to my old garden. Recently, she told me that somehow they no longer self-seeded and are getting rare in her own garden. The same is true of Honesty, which used to turned part of her garden purple each spring. Well, it is also slowly disappearing!
Here at Roche Fleurie, Johnny-jump-ups self seed just nicely. It remains to be seen if they will eventually take off and become a nuisance or peter out as they eventually did at Gwynne's.
The way we weed is revealing about the type of garden we are used to. Many years ago on a visit, my mother helped me weed in the garden. Being used to gardening on sandy soil, she would grab a weed and pull on it. The garden was on clay, and weeds could not be just pulled out as on sand. They had to be pried out. If you simply pulled, the root did not come out.
My funniest experience with weeds happened the first year I was gardening. I saw a description of Dame's Rocket (Hesperis matronalis) and ordered some seeds. Plants duly appeared where I had planted my seeds, but I was convinced there was something wrong. What was growing where I planted Dame's Rocket was a "weed" that was everywhere along the community trail just outside the garden gate. It turned out that "weed" was indeed Dame's Rocket! The plant was already growing by the thousands just outside the garden gate!
I saw Dame's Rocket plants for sale in a garden center this spring. I was surprised because, however beautiful, it should not be planted as it chokes out native plants when it escapes cultivation and is very invasive in damp areas.
So what are some of your own weeds?
Dandelions, whose root grows straight down, and a grass whose root travels for miles underground and does a decent furrowing job if I can pursue it all over the garden without breaking it.ReplyDelete
Tell me about those! I just had to lift a big flat stone in the path to get to some grass root.Delete
Forget-me-nots have spread through a lot of garden, but Maria likes them!ReplyDelete
I suppose it falls into the category of plants we introduce which end up doing too well. I find it hard with Forget-me-nots to decide how much to keep and how much to remove.Delete
Welcome back, missed your posts! In my current garden, Creeping Charlie (Glechoma hederacea) drives me nuts.ReplyDelete
When I first gardened, I would not pull out Creeping Charlie because I loved its smell and it is rather attractive as well. However I soon realized the error of my way!Delete
I have this one you call ' tiny thing'. It grows everywhere and you're right it appears when snow melts. I fight against it but it wins.ReplyDelete
I am glad someone else has it. It you ever find its name, let me know.Delete
Hi Alain, here in Alsace in the vineyard, my main weeds are dandelion and bindweed (liseron in french)ReplyDelete
Such a plague!!!!!!!!
Bindweed is probably the worst weed you can have. Especially the kind with very small leaves and flowers. The big flower variety is easier to control.Delete
Welcome back! Ground elder- Aegopodium podagraria is the bane of my life. The Romans introduced it as a food plant. Do you have it over there?ReplyDelete
Ground elder is a real menace. I had a hard time with it in the old garden. Here we fortunately do not have any (perhaps I should say 'yet').Delete
Is dames Rocket the same as Sweet Rocket which I have just grown from seed!ReplyDelete
Interestingly on our allotment site our grass paths are covered with dandelions and our plot neighbour has daisies instead.
I think it is the same thing. It is a lovely plant, highly perfumed. For you it should be OK as I think it is native to Europe. It is here in North American that it gets invasive. I still leave a few to bloom here but pull up the majority in spring.Delete
Here in southern Ontario and next to a wildlife reserve my nemisis is Goldenrod (Solidage canadiensis). It seeds all over the garden and needs to be caught in the early Spring before it sends down its deep roots.ReplyDelete
I missed you at Seedy Saturday last winter. I hope you have a good summer.
Here the closest thing to goldenrod I have to battle with is native asters (Michaelmas Daisies).
At the start of our fifth spring here, so far I haven't seen any sprigs of the Japanese Knotweed I've been battling the whole time. Not sure about the other side of the fence, though.ReplyDelete
It is a pity it is so invasive as it is a very attractive plant. I am sure it is plotting its next move on the other side of that fence.Delete
My number one weed enemy is creeping charlie. After that, running bellflower. Then dandelions, plantain, crabgrass, etc. I don't mind violets or clover, and would be delighted if johnny jump up would self-sow in my yard - but it doesn't.ReplyDelete
I never got Johnny jump up to grow in my old garden either. Here it does grow but not profusely (at least for the time being).Delete
Wondered where you had been Alan and glad to hear it was a computer problem and not anything worse!ReplyDelete
Without a shadow of doubt and by a mile epilobium is my worst weed. It does not look from your followers' comments that many people use glyphosate over there, nor do that many gardeners over here in the UK although as you know for me it is an essential tool.
Interesting comment about self seeders losing steam. I have been musing about why this has been happening in my own gardens and intend to .
blog about it soon.
Brenda would be delighted if my 'Love in a mist ' ran out of steam but I love it!
It is amazing how some plants from other continents do better when they are away from home. Your epilobium is a case in point. I have tried to grow it here but it won't. It will only grow in acidic soil it appears. As a child, I remember seeing billions of them flowering after a forest fire. We have used glyphosate to control poison ivy.Delete
I look forward to your post about self seeders losing steam. It is a very interesting question. Here Love in a mist does self seed but not generously. Each spring I put in new seeds as I also like it a lot.
Five weeks without the Internet was a real hassle. It all has to do with living in a remote area where there are too few clients for Internet providers to make money. We eventually had to change to satellite Internet.
Pennywort is king in my yard. As for that weedy groundcover sedum, I have something called 'Watchchain' sedum that pops up in very unexpected places. But it is very welcome wherever I find it, so I guess it's not a weed in my book.ReplyDelete
I googled Pennywort, I have never seen it. We must be too cold for it.Delete
Is the watchcain sedum the one on my blog banner? If so there are acres of it around here. Inside the garden I have some other that are even more invasive but I like them and they are no trouble to get rid of.
Lyreleaf sage (salvia lyrata) grows like a weed in my garden, but one day I accidentally bought one in a nursery thinking it was salvia uliginosa. I felt so silly, but it's hard to keep all those salvia's straight sometimes.ReplyDelete
Don't you feel silly when this happens! I don't know the Lyreleaf sage but looking it up, it reminds me a bit of Penstemon hirsutus which has stopped growing in the garden here and has moved, on its own, next to a shed outside the garden! I let it as it is native for this area and it is quite pretty.Delete
This is very interesting. Weeds, or stray plants in general, just like ordinary plants, have very specific habitats and living conditions upon which they thrive. Some species would like to grow along rocky, suburban terrains, like on the sides of pavements or on the sidewalks; while some thrive on loam soil, like in vegetable or ornamental gardens. A bad thing about them though is that once they grow, they’re really difficult to control.ReplyDelete
Billy Quaid @ MPDT
I agree with you. Thank you for visiting my blog.Delete
Cats Ear. It is dandelion like but propagates by seed and root in our lawns. A single plant will overtake a larger and larger area creating many, many individuals. Since we are banned from using broad leaf poisons, I'm stuck digging them out which ultimately never succeeds. :(ReplyDelete
I don't think I have ever seen it. It does look as bad as dandelion.
My main weed is a tree seedling that germinates every spring by the hundreds. If I didn't pull them, I'd live in a forest. This spring I overseeded parts of my lawn with white clover, which many people consider a weed. But I find it very useful for filling in low, moist places where the grass struggles. One man's problem many be another's solution. :o)ReplyDelete