Friday, December 17, 2010

A word on weeds and a little something for those of you with snow covered gardens...

I'm linking in with Garden Bloggers Bloom Day this week at May Dreams Gardens. Many of the blogs posted have gardens under snow.  Even the usually milder, wet Irish climate has been delivered a wallop of white so that my mother's garden (and the whole island, from what I hear) is knee-deep in the stuff. So this post is for all you snow bunnies...

First, I'll show you some of the lovely flowers that are defying the frosty nights and still blossoming, in the hopes that that will cheer you up.

Above is a snap dragon, and below are some dianthus, followed by close-ups of them as I felt this first picture did not do the individual flowers justice, and those of you who are bloom-starved might like to feast your eyes on them.
Do you notice a color theme going on? I can't help myself with pink!  Even my Primulas are pink...
I've always loved fuschias.  The blossom reminds me of a ballerina in a tu-tu - the stamens and style are her legs...
My petunias are bravely soldiering on too - I planted these as annuals in June.  They are starting to behave like perennials!
Allysum reminds me of my Grandmother - she used to have lots of it growing in her rockery.  I like how this one catches the winter sun...
Another plant bought during the summer, and expected to be a shorter lived annual - I think its a verbenna but I've lost the plant label for it...can anyone confirm that for me?
And then there is the Bird of Paradise - I can't claim credit for these - they were here when we moved in, and they just do their thing.  This year, I might even fertilize them!
If all this only serves to make you jealous, I'll demonstrate the downside of all that growth - Weeds!

My word on weeds is "Therapy"!  For some gardeners that may mean they need therapy when they see a garden full of weeds.  For me, strangely enough, the process is therapeutic.  Am I crazy?  Don't answer that.  But many gardeners I've met say the same thing.  It gives us great satisfaction to pull out weeds.  Mind you, most of the people I've discussed this with were weeding voluntarily with the Edgewood Weed Warriors at the time of the conversation, so perhaps my surveying methods were flawed!

I've been very vigilant about keeping the veggie garden weed free, since last year when I tried to convince myself that it was really a "green" mulch and that I'd dig them back through as "green" fertilizer!  That did not work out so good - especially for the poor over-run beets that never quite took off.  In the end, I had to weed and then cover them with compost mulch during the summer, and that has kept me on top of things here. Now, the raised beds look much smarter...
The wood chip mulch is doing a pretty good job at weed control in the front garden, and now that I've planted the as-yet-baby-plant natives, the front garden looks clean and weed free.
 
In the foreground, the Deer Grass is looking happy. In the background, I have the aromatics planted close to the path - Cleveland Sage, Coyote Mint and Desert Lavender (from bottom of picture up).  But look closely at the bright green patch just beyond the railings.  A totally different story!   That is the long forgotten side yard, and the weeds have been having a jamboree.  They've invited all their friend round too!


So - getting back to my word on weeds. I do love to look back on a patch of ground that I've cleared of weeds, and the denser they grow, the greater my gratification with the job.
The trick with weeds is to not let yourself get overwhelmed by the task at hand. Set yourself a target and work a little bit a day - ten minutes, thirty minutes, an hour - whatever works for your concentration span and what your back can manage.  Don't worry if you don't get it all done in one sitting. Those blighters aren't going anywhere - more's the pity!

It's best to get them out by the roots. I think that there is an optimum weed pulling size.  Too small and it's way too fiddly ( and not quite as satisfying)  Too big and the roots are too hard to get - I like my weeds about two inches long.

Each day, I roll back the weed frontier by a couple of feet.  I like to keep it geometric and work in foot wide strips each time.
There is a big rain storm on us now, so the weeds will think that they are winning.  But in the end they won't, because we may not have come here for the grass, but we certainly did not come here for the weeds either!


Byddi Lee

4 comments:

  1. Byddi Lee,

    Thanks for visiting my garden blog! The Christmas card I got from the Obamas is a snowy photo of an elegant 2 story mansion covered in show. Mounted on a red parchment paper.

    Guess you have never had weeds like we get the in the eastern US. Japanese Bamboo grass can entirely take over an area in weeks, if let go to seed you can pull it for 5-6 years given each time the seeds do not hit the soil. Then there is blackberries, roots that travel everywhere. gets too hot here in summer to pull weeds at least as much as needed.

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  2. Beautiful bright flowers. I love the snapdragon, the primula and the fuchsia. I also enjoyed reading about your weeding technique.

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  3. I love the color of the snap dragons! Pretty. And wow, the birds of paradise is awesome. So exotic! BTW, I received the Trader Joe's bag! Thank you so much!
    http://nycgardening.blogspot.com/2010/12/all-way-from-california.html

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  4. Cripes, I love the photo in your blogger header with all the lovely raised garden beds, much more beautiful than my own haphazard system!

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