Monday, June 7, 2010

Wanted Dead or Alive

Preferably dead.  [Remember those FBI Most Wanted lists at the Post Office?  Next time you’re in line for twenty minutes, leave your small child as a place holder and go and snoop through the small ream of paper that includes some of the worst criminals in the world, pictures included.]  After hours of weed pulling on Saturday, inspiration hit.  Why not write about my top five most hated/dangerous weeds?  Which posed a dilemma.  Now that I had weeded, where could I find an intact specimen of said weeds for a picture?  My imperfection (or laziness) saved me.  There were indeed weeds left in the yard.  I just had to crawl into some tight spots to get a decent shot of them.  So without further ado, the top five weeds in my Alaska yard this year are:

1. Taraxacum officinale or the old standby dandelion.  Kids and bees love it.  The dandies in the turf grass I have occasionally gone to battle with, but it’s the one’s in the gravel and the beds that drive me nuts.  And it’s not as if there are two seeds per plant.

weeds 097

2. Prunus padus commutata, or the ever popular (OK, in zone 3) May Day tree, whose white flower petals are currently blowing off the tree and around my yard like a summer snow.  It’s a quick grower, quicker than birch even.  In our cold, dry climate (and with our cool soils) there aren’t too many trees that make fast growth.  On a blank lot (which so many new houses are after the builder scrapes off all the vegetation and trees) the need for shade trees (or any trees for that matter) is paramount.  And this one works great with one teeny, tiny, little caveat.  It seeds like the great plant Apocalypse is happening tomorrow.  And it’s seedlings are rather tenacious for their size.  You have been warned.

weeds 093  weeds 092

3. Campanula rapunculoides and you’d think with a common name like creeping bellflower, people would be wary.  Or not.  I admit the purple flower is attractive, but is that any reason to invite this plant thug into the garden?  This is the hardest weed to pull and grows back the fastest.  I hate, loathe, detest, and abhor it.  And where did I acquire it?

weeds 105 

That’s right, next door.  It is posing with some turf grass and about ten thousand of it’s cohorts in the background.  Short of secretly squirting Roundup along the fence line, what can you do?

4. Campanula persicifolia, the peach-leaved bellflower, and what a beauty it was in it’s first years in my garden.  I had both the blue and the white colored plants.  Though the white is almost completely gone with diligent weeding, the blue has staying power.  It hides amongst the blueberry bushes, Geranium ‘Johnson’s Blue,’ and under Pinus aristata.  It grows back if you just rip the top part and don’t remove the roots, but not as quickly as Campanula number 3.  It spreads more slowly as well.  I know when I’ve missed a patch because it sends up two or three foot spikes of blue, bell-shaped flowers in summer.  Can’t hide those under the Geraniums now, can they?

weeds 085

5. Linaria vulgaris, also known by the rather fattening name of butter-and-eggs.  You pull it and it comes back.  Forever.  Well, perhaps I exaggerate, but just.  As a kid I used to love picking the yellow flowers and biting the end of the spur off to suck out the miniscule bit of nectar.  Well, like so many tastes, it has changed as I have become an adult.  Hate it.  Please do your neighborhood a favor if you have it and mow or pull it.  In a sad bit of irony, I have seen tended beds of this in town…it is in fact NOT a yellow snapdragon, despite the resemblance.  A terrible seeder and not bad at creeping around by rhizomes, too.  Check out the USDA website for a better picture that includes the yellow flower.

weeds 106

That was my top five for this year, mind you.  Just like the FBI list, next year there might be other (garden) low-life criminals in the running.  Oh joy.

What are your worst weeds?

22 comments:

Noelle said...

Hi Christine,

I wanted to see if we had any of the same hated weeds. The only one I recognize is the dandelion and they are not too much of a problem here. But, no matter where people live, there is always one constant....weeds :(

pamsenglishgarden said...

Wow! You sure do know your weeds! I can't put a name to the ones I hate, except for dandelion of course. As an organic gardener I avoid sprays, but after a couple of months of pulling by hand, I must confess I sometimes resort to Roundup in the gravel driveway.

LC said...

Good luck... my biggest concern is bringing in new weeds with plants gifts and purchases... Larry

Elephant's Eye said...

In this garden it is Paterson's Curse. For the rest I just thin nature's bounty, where I have planted MY Own Choice.

NellJean said...

Every garden has its hated inhabitants, they just vary from zone to zone. Most of mine have names that start with Florida: Florida Betony, Florida Pusley. Or end with Brier: Cat brier or Bull brier. Right now Florida Betony is going underground for the summer and the hateful Chamberbitter is coming up.

Dig, dig, dig. Pull, pull, pull. Bermuda grass shall not win.

Jim Groble said...

I think rabbits should hold the top 10 spots. jim

Rosie@leavesnbloom said...

the worst in my garden is hairy bittercress - those seeds explode if the plant is touched with the slightest of touch. Its a nightmare weed for me just now.

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Bermuda grass, goutweed, creeping charlie, wild strawberry, and last but certainly not least henbit. Now I don't know the botanical names of these weeds. I just know they are invasive and make me crazy (ier).

Gloria said...

Ooh creeping bell flower. Be afraid, be very afraid! What a pain. Homesteaders must have planted this deceptive plant. It is a regular time eater for me.

threedogsinagarden said...

I hate the creeping bellflower as well. If you do not get all of the root, it comes right back.
I would add to your list ordinary garden flowers that are invasive like lily of the valley and goutweed.
Jennifer

Melanie said...

I agree about Campanula rapunculoides I got it, unintentionally, from a friend along with some London Pride. My other worst weeds are Equisetum spp , (horse tail) impossible to get rid of, hundred mile long roots, if you try to get rid of it with roundup it just comes back bigger and better than before. Hieracium (hawkweed) both the yellow and orange kind spreads on runners and seeds. If you leave one microscopic bit of root in the soil it grows back and spreads. Yuck.

Christine B. said...

@pamsenglishgarden
Typing in "latin name for dandelion" into a search engine will do wonders for my reputation! Truly, I can take no credit. I have a hard enough time keeping straight all the desireable plants Latin names in my garden that I've no brain space left for Latin names of weeds.
CB

joey said...

I have these and thousands more, Christine ... but I HATE, really HATE Bishop's Weed ...want some :) I actually see people buying this at the nursery so tap them forcefully and say ... are you sure ...

Rosie@leavesnbloom said...

Christine I edited my post on damselflies to add the info about what they eat. Its flies, mosquitos and midges. Not sure if you have midges but we have the dreaded "scottish midge" - its such an aggressive sub species - something the scottish tourist board don't talk much about! My dh won't go out walking in the evenings during the summer as they are always biting him. Thankfully they are not in high numbers around our garden but sometimes a swarm will fly in - I've been biten a few times. I might have some mosquito larvae in the pond as I have not had the waterfall on much this season and they love breeding in still water so that might be why I've quite a few damselflies this year. Thanks for your visit and comments.

Grace Peterson said...

Well Christine, you certainly touched on a relevant topic here.

For me, probably the worst culprit is a native Prunella I brought with me from my previous residence where it grew all over the forest. This should have been my first clue. I have been successful for years in picking the purple flowers before they set seed but there is still a gazillion plants coming up all over. Bitter Cress is another one. And there's that tiny, bronze colored oxalis with yellow flowers--BAD, BAD!

The Garden Ms. S said...

Ack - butter and eggs is the bane of my existence in around my trees. Neighbours actually grow it. *groan* The other is the neighbour's goutweed that keeps popping up from under the fence....grrrr.

MILLIE said...

I hate all those tenacious weeds...like Pokeberry..and dandelion..and grasses. You all know the ones...those with taproots that go to china or the stringy rooted ones..that leave baby strings to start a new plot.

Living in Taradise said...

Clover! Don't know any other name for it! It takes over my beds quicker than I can say it's name!

Thanks for stopping by my blog and commenting!

hazeltree said...

Adam and Eve have a lot to answer for! But i really love weeding, so relaxing, especially when there is cricket on the radio and its my job so i get paid to do it so i guess i quite like weeds really...one weed we have, groundelder, we put the dug up plants in a bucket of water for a fortnight and it makes a superb feed for other plants...sweet revenge...

a tasteful garden said...

you are too funny! what an awesome idea for any gardener... a most wanted list. Creeping Charlie would be on the top of my list. it has a master plan to overtake my entire garden by throwing its shoots absolutely everywhere. we've been in a fight for six years now, unfortunately the Creeping Charlie is winning.

Catherine@AGardenerinProgress said...

I was just out pulling many today. Bishop's weed is the worst in my yard. I have another one that is everywhere, I haven't figured out what it's called, but it likes to grow in with plants that look the same and then bloom before I realize they are there.
I have a type of Linaria with purple flowers that reseeds a lot, and have slowly been getting rid of it.

the666bbq said...

my top 3 currently would be : Lychnis coronaria, Stachys byzantia and Borago officinalis. I like all three however, and they are not considered weeds but the spread quite agressively through the garden (I like wandering plants in fact) and if you let them you have nothing but them (and they tend to do farely well too, being very much "present/there"). I can't believe where they end up sometimes...

LinkWithin

Related Posts with Thumbnails