Tuesday, May 20, 2008

What I DON'T Want To See In the Garden

I say weeds are the number one nemesis of all gardeners. But what exactly is a weed? Oftentimes it is said a weed is simply a plant in the wrong place. That can define a weed. A weed can also be a harmful plant, such as poison ivy. I think a weed is anything growing in my garden which I do not want. It can be something as pretty as these violets, or something as ugly as a dandelion (sorry you dandelion lovers), or something sold as an ornamental plant which ends up being invasive, like the Houttuynia.

I really like my garden. I like it a lot but just don't like seeing weeds. Especially weeds I have worked hard to eradicate for several years, and also weeds which just can't seem to be killed. All three of these weeds fall into the hard to kill category.

I am told some 2-4D will wipe out the violets. Maybe, but I don't use these types of pesticides. I have decided that I will negotiate a truce and let them be. I guess the lawn is a bit more colorful with the pretty purple blooms. What makes me really mad about these violets is that I actually purchased the plants from a Master Gardener plant sale! Sometimes when we have a new garden we are eager to plant anything, but it is not a good idea. Don't do it!

The houttuynia is probably the worst ornamental in my garden. Keep in mind I have made the mistake of planting invasive plants including not only the violets, but vinca, liriope spicata, and Artemesia vulgaris 'Limelight'. All have pretty much been eliminated. All except the houttuynia. Here is the kicker, I didn't plant it! I think the first homeowner of my home planted it. She planted it in a good spot around a mature pine tree. It sure is pretty and is a good groundcover, but now I want something different there and because the area is dry, the houttuynia does not look good all season. It has to go. I am not having luck with eradicating it. Any tips?

Dandelions are everywhere! Not only do they grow in the spring, but they grow all season long! They are not a cold or hot weather weed, but a year round pest. Their roots run deep and it is hard to get rid of them using my handy fishhook tool. I try though. For a good six years now. This is one weed I will never negotiate a truce with. If left to grow, even for a few days, it will set seeds and spread itself around. Sometimes even when the plant is pulled and tossed in the compost, I notice the seeds still maturing! How is that for a weed!
One last thing I hate seeing in the garden are baby oaks. I love the oak trees and could never imagine not having trees in my yard, especially the majestic oaks, but the seedlings NEED to go! This is the time of year the acorns all sprout and begin their frantic growth well on their way to becoming huge oak trees. It is difficult pulling the seedlings as they take root rather quickly. Note the acorn still attached to the seedling. The good news is that once you pull all the seedlings, they are gone until next spring. No germinating when you are not looking!
No, you definitely don't want these 'plants' in your garden. I know many will disagree with me especially on the violets. And that is OK. I am prepared, but sticking to my guns-fishhook in hand!

These are some of my worst weeds, what are some of yours?

in the garden....


  1. Hi Mom! Look I am the first to read your blog today or at least comment on it! Was at work at 645 today. House sitting. Anyway, I was told if you twist the dandelion when you are pulling it out you are more likely to get all the roots, but you have to make sure you twist the right way. I think it was clockwise, but can't remember now. I like vinca and violets, but you are right they spread like crazy. Vinca is really nice where nothing else will really grow and is a great ground cover. I can how that wouldn't be great for you though. Well love you.

  2. Funny, I was going to ask about advise on growing houttuynia, I really want it as a ground cover and love the colors. I tried it at the steps of the rock wall and it did not last, too cold I think. I have a bad problem with sorrel? sp, and crown vetch. URRRR.

  3. I so don't know enough about plants. But when I was a kid we had I think morning glory's in our garden and they drove my dad nuts. I always had to pull them up. It was after all a veggie garden. I am looking for some broccoli and zucchin plants. I know it a little late for broccoli but I haven't seen any anywhere. I keep looking at rural king and never find any. If you see any let me know where.

  4. That's a good description for a weed. We've got the dandelions also. I haven't really made an attempt to get rid of them at least not yet. I should I guess since they will just multiply. I just pull off their head when I seen them so they don't spread. You could use the boiling water trick. We have thistle coming up all over. I keep digging it up since it's spiky and I don't want a certain little 2 year to land on it. Vetch is all over as well. It looks nice when it's growing somewhere by itself but when it grows up through your plants its a pain. We've transplanted several oaks into pots.

  5. What is it they say....One man's junk is another man's treasure?!!
    Since we (Tina, Dawn and I) are also "junk" collectors, I guess it can also apply to "weeds".

    Today is the MDA support monthly meeting so was going to Portland but Tom just called and does not wanna go tonight. So guess I'll be outside afterall today.

    Hope all has a good day.

  6. Nurseries and big box stores that continue to sell known invasive exotics in the areas of the country they are known as invasive exotics is irresponsible. I have commented to the owners and managers and been given the same line,"It's what the public wants." We are an uneducated public! Once I asked a woman who was loading her cart with Vinca minor if she wanted some free Vinca plants, even offering to dig them for her...she declined.

    Tina, do you have Hackberry seedlings....they are terrible, too.

    Good luck with the weeds,

  7. Christinelynn, You did good today! That seems to be important-the first comment of the day. I use a fishhook to pry my dandelions out-I think I am prying the same ones each time. lol love you too.

    Dawn, Don't do it! Houttuynia belongs in no garden in my opinion. It may not like it up there. I have heard crown vetch is a pain, I will steer clear of it. This must be why catalogs sell it so cheap? Like 100 for $5? Funny.

    Sarah, I will for sure let you know. I think it is too late for broccoli though. You can buy some zucchini seeds and plant them out. I haven't planted mine yet so plenty of time. They are too easy to grow from seed. Your son will love helping you.

    Dave, Keep up on those dandelions. That thistle is pretty but I am not sure why it likes to grow in the garden and lawn? Definitely don't want your oldest daughter touching it!

    Mom, Frances said you left a cute comment on her blog yesterday. I will have to check it out. You would love Frances-red hair too! (Frances-hope you don't mind me telling her this)

    Gail, It is an education thing. Totally. It bugs me when I see burning bushes and white pines everywhere. No one knows better, or if they do they just don't care! urrr! No hackberries here. Do they seed a bunch? Hard to pull. Trees have this great ability to reproduce. Do you suppose someone can genetically modify a tree to only produce seeds in a bad year or something? Just kidding. No, I don't think that is practical.

    Everybody have a great day. I am out of the net a bit. I had a SUPER visit with Frances and saw Faire Garden (pronounced Fair Garden), I will post about it a bit later and I know everyone asked me to take pictures and all. All I can say is her pictures reflect it wonderfully but it is never the same as being there in person. It was an awesome garden. Happy gardening!

  8. Hello all...
    Tina I know how you like yellow so surprised you dont like the dandelions! LOL.. I just pluck them when I see them. My dad uses a granular and sprinkles it on top of them and it kills them to the root! Killing to the root is the best way because if you leave one tiny sprig of root, it will return... I used my dads method one year and had circles of dead grass so be careful if using the stuff to keep it only on the weed…

    We have some sort of pretty ivy that grows all over the place here. It drives us nuts. The deer eat it but not fast enough. They have tuber roots so really difficult to pull them out of the ground to the root. Round-Up does not work on them either! They have stickers on the stem and will get cha if not careful.

    A few years ago while home, I asked my dad for some of his Vinca. He was stingy and only gave me 3 tiny sprigs! You should see those 3 tiny springs now! Wow, it is quick to grow but I like it, well so far but it is working its way into the Liriope bed. I reckon the two could fight it out! LOL

  9. I'm trying to get rid of some mint! Of course it smells nice and is a good herb but the location is bad so out it needs to go!

  10. Lots of seedling and cuttings to be planted in your garden. I don't think pots of cuttings count as clutter.

    Weeds?? well I have tons of violets and tons of lemon balm ... they just keep sprouting up all over the place and I just keep digging them and giving them away, or moving them to other parts of the garden where they can grow all they want. Both really aren't weeds, just plants growing where I don't want them. But they do add to the beauty of the garden.

  11. Hi Tina --I'd have to say the Pretty yellow flowers as Sidekick calls them --DANDELIONS. And, I've tried digging them out and they seem to mulitply overnight. I haven't sprayed any weed or dandelion killer but most of my neighbors do. I don't care for the dandelions but the kiddos are always out running around the yard so I will just deal with them. Had one award ceremony this morning and now we're off to another two:) Had a not so fun day with Jiffy Lube --charged me twice and refuse to give me a refund:( Said I have to wait ten days --they did it to my debit card. Won't be going back anytime soon. You really have to watch your bank statements like a hawk these days. Whoa --look at me not talking about weeds just wanting to weed out a not so nice business from my list:) See you all later:)

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  13. Someone who is wonderful send me a packet of Hollyhock seeds. I always knew that Tina's people were the best. Now don't be shy, which one of you darlings sent me the perfect gift for my Momma?

    Warmest ever hugs,


  14. WEEDS, I hate them. They are everywhere in my yard. Since I can't mow anymore it is not done as often or as neat as I would do it. I bagged every time & used it to mulch. Mowed ofter enough that the weeds didn't have a chance. MOSTLY. Anyway it is a mess now & that's one of the reasons that it takes me twice the time & effort to do one bed. One nice thing about gardening in containers. Very few weeds. Back yard is snake haven now. I think if I had an electric mower I may be able to mow. Just can't yank on cord to start the gas one. Need it slow as I can't walk fast either. I know, quit griping!!! lol

    I agree Gail. I think it should be a law that the stores can't sell invasive plants of any kind. Most people buy what looks good to them. Not many even know anything about the plant they are buying.

    Skeeter, is that plant an ivy or some kind on brier? I have some kind of brier growing in amongst my azaleas & the thorns on it will rip you apart. It looks kinda like the briers that you see in pine forest. I even wonder if that may have something to do with my azalea dieing. You have to get the roots out or it will just come back. I just may have to get my neighbor to remove it for me {that's what he does---yard work}.

    I'm with you Anonymous about the dandelion. My little one {ggs} are always bringing me "flowers" so I don't mind them too much. Anyway the dandelion is the first food for bees in the Spring before other blooms start to appear. And we know the bees have to be fed or no pollination of the plants that need it.

    I had Violets all over the place in N.C., even in the driveway. I didn't mind as I thought they were cute.
    Well here I've gone & wrote a book. Later, Ya'll.

  15. I think we all agree about the dandies being a fave of kids, Nikki perfers them when they are "seeds", she wishes and blows them away.

  16. PS. I forgot to mention, your "what kind of flower am I" tells me I'm a niegella, an odd flower, but eccentric enough not to care. Too cute.
    Red Soxs are playing, a former seadog and cancer survivor pitched an no hitter last night....big thing, oh, gotta go.

  17. Lola, I have been out tackling those pesky weeds today. I could not use spray due to wind so I got the gas weed whacker out. I got everything done I had set out to do so now I can forget about the weeds until the next rainfall. LOL.. Lola, I can tell a big difference from year to year how the body slows down. I just hope that I can keep going strong as you are doing...

    Dawn, great news on the pitcher! I like to hear good heart warming things like that...

    Kudos to Gails Secret Admirer with the hollyhock seeds…

    Ah, mint in ice tea is good!

    Yes, weeds with color are still beauty to me as well...

    Sidekick would have liked the white frog I found today!

    Storms all around us with hail and rain at the Saints office. Not one drop on our yard! argggg... We need water!

  18. Lola, forgot to say, the pesky vine could be a briar of sorts. They are buggars and everywhere.

  19. Lola, You can gripe as much as you want to. It is hard when we can't maintain our gardens the way we want to all the time. Sounds like you did an awesome job and the containers work well for you now.

    Dawn, Did you like the what kind of flower are you? I had seen it on many blogs but never did it before. The problem is it doesn't give all the viewers a description of who we are unless you look it up. Mine was apt though and I haven't seen any other cannas or nigella. Anyone else do it? Skeeter? Christine? I hope you don't mind I put it on there. I think it might be a bit dumb since it has all our names but I wanted you all to see it and try it. I am going to take it off soon. Hubby says I have to go. ttyl

  20. Dawn did you know that no hitter last night was the first one since 1956 in Fenway Park by a south paw?? Pretty neat!!!

  21. I wondered what the heck Dawn was talking about. I thought maybe you two had a code or something going on. LOL. I did not see it until just now... Think it is neat...

  22. I knew it was a long time for Fenway but they made a deal about Buckholz's no hitter last year. 21 no hitters in the history of ball? I believe I heard the next morning. It was emotional seeing babyfaced Lester do that, esp. after surviving cancer and having to have a year off. Young, and they did mention he was a lefty. Soooo nervous the last pitch, don't think he believed he could do it. His Dad can't watch him live but from what he said, his mom was hooting so loud his dad could hear her in the garage and figured it out. Good for Lester.
    Yes, I liked doing the flower thing, asked different questions and I was pleasantly surprised to find my flower nigella.

  23. Yeh, I thought it was neat too. I am a canna. Also got my fairy name--Bramble Rainbowfly. All sorts of neat things to find out.
    Skeeter, I still think you have a brier. I got out there today & started to trim my azalea---made a big dent but still more to do. Can't reach that high & for sure can't get on a ladder. It's about 12' high. It sure looks naked now & will till it begins to fill back in as it grows. Also found that the leaves & such under was molded even tho it has been dry. Anyway I raked as much out that I could---maybe that will help. That could have been my problem. Oak leaves.

  24. That is why I remove the old stuff every other year Lola. Mold and mildew will harm them...

  25. You're right Skeeter. When Young'un was cutting out the dead parts I could see how much stuff--leaves & small pieces of trimmings had collected under there. They are so big--about 12'--been here I guess since the house was built. Maybe early eighties. I had never thought about cleaning out all the stuff. But see now I will have to start that If I don't loose all of them. The only thing I did was trim them but for last 2 yrs nothing. Fighting now to just get them trimmed because of my leg/hip. It has to be done so just more pills & keep at it.