Sunday, 28 April 2013

Nature Diary 3

By definition, a weed is any plant which is growing in the wrong place; although I would qualify this by saying that any Viola Labradorica or Asperula Odorata which chooses to seed itself between the flags on my patio is made very welcome.

Perhaps the commonest and certainly the most disliked among these weeds is the Dandelion.   I have always thought it a pity that the Dandelion is seen as a weed, because if you look closely at it , it really is the most beautiful flower.  And at around this time of year it borders almost every road and lane in the country.   But, sadly, it is also one of the cleverest at spreading its seed.   By making that pretty pom-pom head and waiting for a breezy day, it ensures that its offspring float over a wide area and mostly take root.   One of its favourite rooting places seems to be in my lawn, where it pushes down its tap root far too deep to be persuaded to come out and I have to resort to a tiny spot of weedkiller in the crown.

But that is an easy job compared with getting rid of those two other weeds which RS Fitter in his wild flower book calls 'unauthorised wanderers.'

How I welcome the Celandine when it first opens its shiny yellow face to the sun.   And I continue to enjoy it when it grows along a bank or a hedge-side out in the fields.   But when it takes up residence in my tulip bed, making a delightful yellow carpet for the bright red tulips, I draw the line.  'Enjoy it while it lasts and then when I lift the bulbs I will get rid of it,' I think.

Ha!  'You and whose army'? I hear my father saying.   It is quite shallow rooted but each root has hundreds of follicles and leave one in the ground and that is quite enough to get it going again for next year.   Yes, I am afraid the message is that if you have Celandines then enjoy them and make the best of it.

And please.......don't get me started on Ground Elder. 

14 comments:

Heather said...

I have just spent an hour weeding and we have more celandine than ever this year. I sometimes wonder if digging things up isn't the best way of increasing them!
Dandelions are quite a useful plant and deserve more respect. The young leaves are a good salad vegetable, the flowers make a delightful wine and the roots can be roasted and ground to make a pleasant drink. Apart from that I think they are a very handsome plant but I don't want them in my borders.

Arija said...

I wonder, you probably have never coped with elm suckers!

Lucy Corrander at Loose and Leafy said...

I'm a dandelion fan.

Jim Froggatt said...

Got so fed up with weeds I concreted over the lot.

MorningAJ said...

I've got butterbur in my garden. I know it's an early flowerer and gives colour in January - but I HATE it! I'd much sooner have celandines. Swap?

Gwil W said...

The EU is trying to introduce 3 dangerous pesticides as well as controlling who can buy and sell seeds. The bees are in the front line. Only the Brits can save them and us!

Joanne Noragon said...

I do like celandine for its persistance. It lifs off rather easily when time to weed, and reappears next year just as easily.

JoAnn ( Scene Through My Eyes) said...

I'm all for any "weed" that is persistent - I like things that spread and cover the ground - I just let them spread and move other things if need be. I love dandelions and am jealous of those who have lawns full of them - mine are sparse and always so much later than all the others. And after a few weeks even the plants disappear from the lawn - leaving no mark to tell that they have given me such joy. One neighbor picks off the dandelion heads as soon as they appear - thinking they are outsmarting the plant - but until it goes to seed and finishes its cycle - it will return again and again - trying to do what it was meant to do - make seeds.

Give me a spreading plant anytime - I will enjoy it in my garden and take the glory for such a pretty garden - so full of flowers. LOL

Crafty Green Poet said...

I love lesser celandines, such pretty flowers at hte start of spring! Dandelions are wonderful, they keep pet rabbits very happy as well as being a bright and friendly type of flower, though yes, they are weeds

angryparsnip said...

All the wild critters keep my weeds down. But then I also don't have tulips growing around my garden either. They would be gone in a night.
I have to stick to the cactus and their fabulous blooms in the spring.

cheers, parsnip

marilyn said...

I too love dandelions. When I was a little girl, my mother and I would pick the ones in full bloom and blow away the blossoms!!! She told me it was fairies dancing. I just can't think of them any other way today.

Sarah Head said...

I hope one day you may learn to love dandelions, they are such useful plants, both medicinally and culinary. I make a lovely dandelion flower syrup and a flower salve which is great for light muscle pain and breast issues. Dandelion bitter made from roasted and fresh roots steeped in vodka for three weeks with cardomom and orange peel is great for aiding digestion, stopping bloating and other issues.

The Weaver of Grass said...

There seems to be a contingent that actually likes dandelions - so do I as long as they are not growing in my lawn.
Thanks for commenting.

Em Parkinson said...

Hairy Bitter Cress is my nemesis in this garden. The year I was pregnant and feeling unable to garden, wild strawberries took over in a previous house and I've never felt quite as positive about them either! As for the dreaded Ground Elder, I once eradicated it in a tiny London Garden many years ago, when I was a lot younger and fitter, but it meant digging over the entire area and virtually sieving every inch of it. Here, it remains a problem!