Glory's Garden

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Monday, June 11, 2012

Drastic Measures Against Weeds

Weeds, weeds! I hate weeds!

It is a well known fact in the gardening world that drastic measures sometimes need to be taken against weeds, if we, the gardeners, are to prevail. If it wasn't for the public struggles with the weeds Raymond Alexander Kukkee could not identify --Yes, Mr. Bonsai Guy at Incoming Bytes-- plus those of Crooked Yarn crochet wizard Marie Anne vs Canadian* Thistle In the garden with Sow-&-Sow, I might not have thought of doing what I did.

 I'll tell you about my own drastic weeding measures in a bit, but first let's look at Marie Anne's nasty Canadian Thistle. Ugh! Do I know about those! They always invade my poppy patch and my side yard shrub border. I know the darling golden finches love the thistle seeds, but blimey! They are the messiest eaters imaginable and they equally eat and toss as many seeds about to linger and germinate in my fertile soil when I'm not looking.

Poor Marie Anne! She had to dig up all her Hostas in the flower bed and divide them in order to take every bit of thistle root out of the plants. Then she replanted the whole bed. Whew! Loads of work, but it sure looks great now. Totally Canadian Thistle free now! Drastic measures may be tough but they do work!

Raymond, bless his heart, insists Canadian Thistle is good to have around. The long tap roots are supposed to bring up too-deep nutrients in the soil. Once all the nutrients are closer to the surface--so says Mr. Canadian-- the thistle will die off and leave great soil in its wake. Sorry, Hunny, I just ain't buying it! They are taking over quicker than illegal immigrants are taking over Texas. I simply can't wait that long! I do believe it's national pride in all things Canadian talking and nothing else, for which we will forgive him.

Onto Raymond's troubles.

Raymond, the poor dear, is not the only one with nasty weeds, but it's double troubling when you don't know what you have, and thus, what you are dealing with. Well, after extensive online searching and several wrong guesses on the part of his many readers, *side bar- I think Raymond ought to share his vast number of readers with me. I don't know why he doesn't! I'm cute on occasion--end side bar* he finally discovered what it was Aegopodium podargraria aka Bishop's Weed, Goutweed, Goutwort, Garden Plague, Herb Gerard and a few other common names. He calls it Ground Elder.

 I know it as Snow-on-the-Mountain and it is just as invasive around my gardens as it is in Raymond's. Mine is the variegated kind though, which I do not find a bother because I have them growing where I want them, so I don't mind them spreading--in fact I want them to. I do have some which is all a lovely bright green just like Raymond's bunch, but that kind is a nuisance to me. They are growing where I DON'T want them, you see.

Brilliant guy that Raymond is, he discovered a tasty truth about his nemesis.Ground Elder is edible. Whoa, baby and YUM! Now he's munching away on it. He says it tastes a bit like celery. Not bad! I'm not too sure he's upset with his invader anymore. I should be so lucky! I think I better start eating it too!

Now if we were to adopt Uncle Mac's weeding advice which is "Take no prisoners! Yank them all out before they get a hold!" We'd be in spiffy shape indeed. Unfortunately, I have far too many gardens and too many demands on my time to employ this tactic well. I wish I could! As it is, we must employ, on occasion, drastic measures against weeds.

Oh, yeah...I was supposed to tell you the drastic measures I took, but this post ended up being entirely too long as is. I'll do it tomorrow. In the meantime, I think I'll stir-fry me some Ground Elder.

Hmm...I wonder if Molly Weasely knows any good recipes?

*Turns out Marie didn't have Canadian Thistle after all. It was Sow thistle and My giant thistle with the huge blooms was Scotch Thistle. This is according to Raymond. Learn something new every day!


  1. I'm going to have to post an update on my blog. After all my efforts, the Canadian Thistle still broke through. I really want to cry. :(

  2. Oh, no! And you worked so hard on that garden! I'm so sorry! Weeds-1, Marie-0 :-(

  3. Hi Glory, thanks,what a great post! Weeds must be on your mind constantly with such beautiful grounds and so many beautiful flower beds to look after!

    About thistle patches, like dandelions, common Daisies and wild mustard, they DO spread at an atrocious rate wherever the soil is poor. Yep, so even if they're trying to help us out they can be a terrible nuisance, no doubt about that. The BANE of the dedicated, neat and organized gardener!

    Under some conditions, though, thistles can and will grow so thickly it is no less than amazing; it is impossible to even walk through them, -but the organic matter that eventually results from allowing the seasonal thick thistle growth to die off and accumulate undisturbed, combined with the enriched mineral content -- makes wonderful soil.
    Alas, it does take years, we're just too impatient! I had a thistle 'patch' that was horrific, left undisturbed it took about 9 or 10 years to auto-remediate the soil. I had a theory and left it alone. Now there is not a thistle in sight-, well, maybe one or two around the edges -but the topsoil is amazingly rich in organic matter. I believe that like all things in nature, weeds serve us well if we allow them to, don't you think so?
    As an ongoing example, several years ago, we dug a thousand feet of trench 6' deep for a ground source heat pipe system. In the process of backfilling the trenches, of course, the surface soil was mixed or replaced with barren subsoil. The soil over those trenches is now covered thickly with a growth of dandelions--another great soil builder! I should have taken a picture of them, in bloom, it really is quite amazing.
    p.s. the Ground Elder "weed" variegate "Snow on the Mountain" is delicious raw too but I think the green stuff is marginally better tasting. Isn't that weird?

    p.s. # 2 Of course I'll be happy to share my readers with you, soon as I figure out how! LOL

    @Marie Ann, like all things in nature, thistles are tough and persistent and they do have deep root systems. You do have to get every bit of root out of the beds --or just keep digging them out as they grow. In theory, eventually you can exhaust plant roots if no green plant matter is allowed to develop and feed them, but it can take a long time.


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