Sunday, 5 May 2013

Perennial or Life-long?

It is possible I may have mentioned previously that I have the National Collection of weeds.

This is not an overstatement, maybe just a slight exaggeration, but in essence it is horribly true.

In past weeks I have fought and won the battle with some of the aforementioned, but, when it comes to the perennial type  a whole different strategy is needed.

It has always been my aim to garden organically, that is, without chemical aid wherever possible, but having won some of the small skirmishes I now find I am in the middle of a full-scale war with the daily encroaching army of brambles, elders, ground-elder, herb Robert, hairy bittercress, cleaver and worst of all, DDDandelions.

You have probably seen the ad' on TV which shows someone spraying one of the 'yellow perils' with a hand-held spray, upon which it apparently 'dies', only to jump up a few feet away, thumbing its nose and laughing its horrible little head off.

This year's display rivals anything I've ever seen before, and every patch of grape hyacinth, or hellebores, or daff's, has a blaze of custard yellow beasts wending its way between, over, around and throughout them.

Every day I pull off their heads quite ruthlessly, and every bud I can see, to no avail.  Next day another dozen are blazing away in all their fierce yellowness.

Most of them have roots which  are tangled with things I want to keep so I am restricted to trying to dig out only those which are foolish enough to stand alone.

This in itself demands Herculean strength, since the long, long tap roots appear to be aiming for Australia, and it is necessary to use a pick and wear a Davy Lamp on my head to get at them.

Having dug one out successfully, I then sting myself (did I mention nettles?) and have to put gloves on for the rest of the battle.

I've tried swearing at them, but they just put their leaves over their heads and sing loudly.

It's beginning to look as though I will just have to stay indoors and sulk till the season is over.

Did I mention, I hate yellow?


  1. As one who's spent a good half hour this scrambling round the front lawn trying to subdue the little so and sos and who has worn-down finger nails to prove it, you have my utmost sympathy, Ray!

    1. Sympathy duly noted and appreciated Greenpatches.
      Pity it doesn't kill weeds.

  2. my grandfather had a neat little trowel thing he used to cut the dandelion root below never fought the dandelion fight!

    I was going to suggest dandelion wine or dandelion greens in a salad...I think perhaps though, it's best to hold my tongue :)

    regret your nettle bite :(

    1. Indeed Theanne. There are times when it's best to hold one's tongue.
      I'm surprised you didn't mention nettle beer.

  3. I use boiling water on weeds and it works well, of course, it depends on how many you have but each time I have some left over from a cuppa it goes on some weeds.

  4. And my dad used to put salt on them Susan, but it would need a salt mine, or, alternatively, a wine vat for the boiling water.

  5. I do sympathise, Ray, as our yard and back garden is starred all over with the blighters and we get even more in the grass in France. I cull the heads with the best of them, but as you say, they just sneer at you and grow another.

    While very much appreciating your wish to garden organically, would you feel quite so opposed to chemicals if they didn't affect the soil and other plants? I'm thinking of the new gel herbicides, which you only have to apply to a single leaf and where there is no spray to travel. Just a thought....

  6. Hmmm. Not sure Perpetua. but will give it some thought.
    The only other alternatives as I see it are, 1. a flame thrower, or 2. Moving House.

    1. Hubbie has a flame thrower but it is lethal...... very scary. There used to be a spot-on weedkiller that was very good. It has probably been banned.

  7. I think the spot on weedkiller is the same thing mentioned by Perpetua. Will probably give it a try.

  8. Ray....sorry but I love dandelions. Brave little souls, battling and succeeding against all the odds!
    I admit though that my garden is not of the civilized's still more field than garden but I loved the dandelions and daisies scattered around until David cut the grass this week.....I look forward to their return. And don't forget their diuretic properties....useful at have you tried dandelion wine? (ducks hastily).

  9. You may well duck Jean.
    If you really love dandelions that much you may come and dig up (or try to) every single one of mine.
    In fact, I'd pay you to do so.
    As for their diuretic properties !!!! I'm speechless.
    The last thing in the world I need is diuretics.
    You can go off people you know.

  10. If you lived a little closer I'd be happy to come and dig!

  11. If you lived a little closer I'd be happy to watch.