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Weed, Weed, Weed

It’s all vegetables, fruit and flowers down that allotment. Pretty colours and ripening produce. Burgeoning baskets of tubers, pods, roots and blossoms.

How come they get all the attention eh?

Yet those precious prima donnas have bugs and diseases and problems. They need special attention, nurturing and nursing. Heaven forbid it gets a bit cold or windy at the wrong moment and the whole lot goes down the tubes.

But then there’s weeds.

Constant, reliable, fundamentally resilient.

They expect nothing and ask for no special treatment.

And then they never get any limelight or celebrity. There’s no pictures of weeds on Instagram. No status updates about impressive pernicious plants on Facebook.

Occasionally nettles will get in on a plate of risotto but on the whole the humble weed goes unnoticed like a plain bridesmaid.

So here’s a few weeds that deserve some attention. The evil antiheroes of my allotment.

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This inconspicuous fella is Couch Grass. Notice those long muscular root systems. They can spread under paving for miles. They wrap themselves artfully around cultivated plants, hiding amongst the roots, choking them like the Boston strangler.

Then there’s this little sweetheart.

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Tiny white and yellow flowers twinkling up at you. It’s particular top trump strength is multitude. In large numbers it invades every space going. It has tiny plants and giants. It’s other skill is hiding among the leaves of other similar tender plants. It can grow as tall as a bean or as short as a beet. It’s a master of disguise.
I don’t know it’s name but I know it’s prolific. If you’ve got an idea then do let me know!

Bindweed is a more devious strangler. It also likes to climb on other plants but it does so while twinning tightly around them. It has it’s own multiplying strategy. The seeds grow along the plant so that when you try to remove it from your raspberries it explodes sending new seeds in all directions.

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Fat Hen appears useful. It’s less pernicious than it’s colleagues and is potentially good chicken feed but check those seeds. Waiting to fly into the air all over the plot.

Of course the Nettle has most of these powers, stealth and clever spreading, penetrating root systems. It’s a master imitator. It seems to grow most happily alongside raspberries and mint, imitating their leaves, height and structure. And then just as your engrossed with gathering plump succulent fruit, it strikes your ankles, the tender part if your wrist.

But at last a good guy, a hero to the rescue.

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The dock leaf, always nearby to soothe those evil nettle stings and bumps.

What are the weeds that you do battle with every day?

How do you tackle them?

Have you had any great victories?

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38 comments on “Weed, Weed, Weed

  1. lindaswildlifegarden
    August 16, 2014

    Reblogged this on Linda's wildlife garden and commented:
    Awesome thank you for sharing have a blessed day

    Like

  2. Pekebun
    August 16, 2014

    I’m still learning about good & bad weeds. Did a class with (Eat your Weeds) Green Deane & found it fascinating. Thanks for sharing.

    Like

    • lizard100
      August 16, 2014

      We should eat more of them. Tried working with nettles this year. And we do feed some to the hens of course. Wish I knew more as they are amazing!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. litadoolan
    August 16, 2014

    So magical how dock leaf is always near nettles. I remember being so glad of this as a child playing in green spaces! Nature knows best! Bindweed I’m sure is also mentioned in some Shakespeare plays (I think!!) so I am guessing it has been a problem for sometime. Great factual post.

    Like

    • lizard100
      August 16, 2014

      I think Shakespeare does mention bind wind that’s true. Our end of summer treat is coming up. Shakespeare in the open air. This year it’s Romeo and Juliet. Every September we have a travelling English language theatre group. It’s a real treat.

      Like

      • litadoolan
        August 17, 2014

        Ah that’s blissful. Romeo and Juliet is such a winner!! Can’t wait to hear more about it. I hope you have a great time.

        Like

      • lizard100
        August 17, 2014

        We always enjoy it. I shall post when the time comes!

        Like

      • litadoolan
        August 17, 2014

        Whoop!!

        Like

  4. Expat Eye
    August 16, 2014

    Nettles and dock leaves – brings back memories! 🙂

    Like

  5. Fran
    August 16, 2014

    Mares Tail! Apparently the only weed that would survive a nuclear attack 😦

    Like

    • lizard100
      August 16, 2014

      Don’t think we have that one. Though I’m not complaining!

      Like

  6. wscottling
    August 16, 2014

    I love these sayings about weeds: A weed is but an unloved flower. — Ella Wheeler Wilcox and A weed is a plant that has mastered every survival skill except for learning how to grow in rows. — Doug Larson

    One person’s “weed” is another person’s “plant”. I used to grow nettles in my garden. 🙂 I also love thistles and dandelions, but I’m weird like that. hahahaha! I had nightshade in my front yard in New Mexico that everyone told me to get rid of, but I thought it was pretty.

    Of course, there are invasive plants that become nightmares, like the Kudzu vine that was brought in from Japan for erosion control to the Southern part of the United States and now has gotten so out of control they just don’t know what to do about it. It’s a parasitic vine and is literally eating it’s way across the Southern US. It’s kinda creepy actually. You should google it.

    Like

    • lizard100
      August 16, 2014

      Our Dock leaves were very popular with the black fly that normally hit the cabbage it beans. It’s very welcome and I like dandelions too.

      Like

    • silverbells2012
      August 16, 2014

      We’ve got Japanese knotweed in the UK which can destroy house foundations. Ugh!

      Like

      • lizard100
        August 16, 2014

        I’ve seen it on the UK news. Nasty stuff.

        Like

      • silverbells2012
        August 17, 2014

        Yes, there was some at the allotments where I had my plot, quite close to where there were some houses…. I have recently read that it can be stopped, just that it is inevitably time-consuming and costly.

        Like

      • lizard100
        August 17, 2014

        It’s another great example of humans interfering with nature!

        Like

      • silverbells2012
        August 17, 2014

        Absolutely! And another reason why I’m glad I’m nowhere near that plot. Better to have time to go to the beach with my French club, like I did yesterday, and watch my daughter having so much fun in the waves, than be battling knotweed.

        Like

      • lizard100
        August 17, 2014

        : )

        Like

    • lizard100
      August 18, 2014

      Kudzo vine sounds pretty evil. I will look it up.

      Like

    • lizard100
      August 18, 2014

      Kudzo vine sounds like a great score in scrabble. But a nasty plant I will have a look. Thank you!

      Like

  7. bcparkison
    August 16, 2014

    Weeds, funny you should be talking about them today. Our hoop house is over run ,in a mess, this year. I’ve been out there this morning pulling mostly grass. If it was in the pasture it would be great but of course the cows keep it eaten down and never gets to the tall version I’ve been dealing with. maybe I’ll take before and after pictures so ya”ll can suffer with me. lol

    Like

    • lizard100
      August 17, 2014

      That would be good. Our invasive grass is the biggest challenge. If you turn your back it takes over again.

      Like

  8. silverbells2012
    August 16, 2014

    Not sure of the name of the main weed in my garden. It does have pretty flowers, though.

    Nettles have started growing in my garden but I’ve left them so far to attract ladybirds, which apparently love them. They are going to have to come out now, though, as they are going to seed.

    Good luck with controlling your lot. Amusing post!

    Like

    • lizard100
      August 16, 2014

      Glad you liked it. The weed is an aspect of garden life. I sort of like them : )

      Like

      • silverbells2012
        August 17, 2014

        Yes, they are an important part of the eco-system like anything else.

        Like

      • lizard100
        August 17, 2014

        That’s true!

        Like

  9. alexandracgodwin
    August 17, 2014

    Hi there! Loved your post about the weeds, they are impressive in their ability to imitate and blend in, strangle and survive an apocalypse. I’ve been investigating them myself and am writing a 3 part blog series on the weeds around us. Check out part 1 at http://growgatherbarterhunt.net/2014/08/16/weeds-part-1-our-backyard/ which investigates many in my garden. One of them may be your mystery plant, but it’s hard to say from the photo. Thanks! Happy blogging!

    Like

    • lizard100
      August 17, 2014

      I need to take a far better photo. : ) will try to add one to the blog.

      Like

    • lizard100
      August 17, 2014

      It’s a bit like quick weed but has smooth edged leaves.

      Like

    • lizard100
      August 18, 2014

      I’ve improved the photo now and I’m convinced it us quick weed. It dies causally have a serrated edge in the leaves. It’s just very subtle compared to some if the photos I’ve seen online.

      Like

      • alexandracgodwin
        August 19, 2014

        If it is quick weed apparently it is edible – debate seems to be unfinished about whether it is tasty or not though…

        Like

      • lizard100
        August 19, 2014

        Hmm the chickens like it!

        Like

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