Weeding – The Job of Heroes

Much as I’d like to report that I’ve been out buying plants, visiting gardens and discovering new things, in fact I’ve been weeding, for nearly the entire weekend! I should start by saying that I don’t use weed-killer, so each weed is removed by hand. The task is akin to painting the Firth of Forth Bridge.

I have come to believe that my garden was built on a bindweed (Calystegia sepium) heap which was then infected early on with ground elder (blame the Romans). The two are so well established that I tend to garden through them half the time. I’ve got representations from most other annoying weeds, but they are largely controlled/controllable. Every now and again though, I can’t stand to look at the dull green sea of elder leaves as a backdrop and I have a go at eliminating it from an area.

Ground elder background

Part of of the long border infested with ground elder

So today I spent some time digging deep at the back of the long border down the driveway, trying to remove the nasty stuff. Unfortunately, the clay soil is getting pretty solid now and that means that bits invariably breaking off and stay in the ground, so I know I will be doing this all over again later in the year. It is soul-destroying work, which is why I can only manage a small area at a time. I hereby promise myself that I will work harder at improving the soil composition by adding compost, leaf litter, spent mushroom compost and coconut husk etc., which will hopefully make the soil easier to dig and weeds easier to remove.

Elsewhere I blitzed several patches of:
Speedwell (Veronica spp.)


Speedwell, Veronica spp.

Alkanet (Pentaglottis semperviren – that comes in from the alley next door)



and cleavers (Galium aparine). This last one partly results from the dog, she imports a fair number of seeds of this weed on her coat throughout the summer. However, I don’t mind this kind of easy weeding. It’s rewarding, relaxing and therapeutic.

Neither do I mind weeding the gravel pathway, because that acts like a nursery bed to several garden plants, so in fact I almost look forward to finding and transferring new plants of anemone, scabious, primroses and aquilegia.

And finally, the writing is on the wall for the forget-me-not (Myosotis) that has seeded around the vegetable plot. Each year I pull up armfuls of the stuff and I end up picking hundreds of the little burr-covered seed cases off my clothes. It is gone quickly though. Result!


The pretty blue flowers of Forget-me-not, Myosotis

About Frogend_dweller

Living in the damp middle of nowhere
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5 Responses to Weeding – The Job of Heroes

  1. Chloris says:

    I’ ve been doing the same this weekend. It’ s the ground elder that really gets me down. It is so disheartening knowing that it will be shooting up healthier than ever as soon as your back is turned.

    • Exactly and if you’re not quick, it puts up flowering spike too. We will just have to eat it like the romans (and who was silly enough to pursue the variegated form!).

  2. I am with you entirely! Nearly gave myself a hernia this weekend in heat, this is the first n.on-soaking wet spring we’ve had for years, and I decided to tackle a perennial sweet pea that I had stupidly planted and have then been hoiking out every year since! In fact, I am momentarily caving in and going to buy spot weedkiller as the roots are yards long and it’s an archaeological task to get it out. Sorry about that!

    • Ha, no worries. At least it will be gone for good. I’ll never get rid of the elder. I’ve toyed with the idea of roll-on glyphosate for the bindweed though. Train it up some canes and then paint the leaves. It will only affect the one thing then and there will be no particulates to speak of, so it shouldn’t affect insects etc.

  3. Pingback: Call to action..owning up and heaving a sigh of relief | jardinecofriendly

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