Those of us who live by the ocean have to deal with fog by times. Now, I happen to like fog a lot of the time. It's soothing, it cools the air, it gently waters the yard, which is nice when rainfall is low. Those who haven't experienced fog often have no idea how thick it can get. Let me demonstrate. Here is the lower front garden on a soon to be stormy but not foggy day:
And here tis this afternoon. As we say in Newfoundland, 'she's right some jeezly t'ick, me byes!' (Hey, I was born on the Rock, so I talks quare by times. :-)
The brown patch in the lawn is where I nuked a sneaky little bout of goutweed with horticultural vinegar two days ago. And speaking of goutweed...I have a new goal in mind: to get nurseries in my province to stop selling goutweed (Aegopodium podegraria). It’s more ubiquitous and unpleasant than Harper conservatives. In fact, it’s best compared to being like a nasty computer virus—it spreads and spreads and spreads until it’s everywhere. And it’s harder to control than a computer virus, too. Right now it’s in bloom in the Annapolis Valley, so it’s very noticeable. Clouds of lovely, Queen-Anne’s-Lace-like flowers hovering a foot or so above the foliage, whether it’s the green or variegated variety. Unfortunately those flowers will go to seed and spread further.
Then of course there’s its other mode of spreading, by underground stems, or rhizomes. That’s where the plant really gets its foothold. Because you can mow it off, spray the tops with an organic or chemical herbicide, and that just causes it to put up new shoots.
Amazingly, this plant does have its fans. And perhaps it does have a place if you want to cover an area with it. You often see it around the foundations of houses (especially older ones), or around a concrete wellcap, or in other places where someone wanted to simply fill in an area with plant material. It is sold as a ground cover, after all. It will cover that area, all right—and leak into your perennial beds, your veggie plot, your pasture, your lawn if given half a chance.
The variegated type is less obnoxious and invasive than the all-green sort. Most variegated plants are less vigourous than their all-green relatives, because less chlorophyll is produced (in the green area) to nourish the plant. What happens, though is that the variegated will revert to being all green; then it takes off like a midsummer wildfire.
We are cursed with the all-green variety. In one area, I’ve had a bit of a laissez-faire attitude to it, because it’s under some trees and down in the ditch, and I simply try to control it on the other side where it wants to jump into the lawn. However, we also have it in another couple of parts of the yard—and in one place, it headed into the horse’s paddock.
I’ve declared war, now. I read in Mark Cullen’s latest book, A Sandbox of a Different Kind, that he considers himself a ‘small-O organic gardener’, because he is primarily organic but has resorted to glyphosate in a few situations. That was good enough for me. I tried the salt-vinegar approach first (mix 1 cup of salt into one gallon of vinegar along with a tsp of baby shampoo or dish detergent (to help it stick to the plants—spray or pour on weeds, but have a care NOT to spill on your good plants because they’ll be killed too.) That dampened its vigour slightly. I hit it with glyphosate. Then I got smart and got my Long Suffering Spouse to bushhog the whole area, mowing it right to the ground. Another course of glyphosate a week or so back got it looking very depressed. But it's currently my 'right some ugly' part of the yard.
Well, one of them--there are several but the fog gave way to rain so I decided to just entertain you with the goutweed.
Then two days ago, I tried the horticultural vinegar (20 percent acetic acid rather than 5)…and I THINK we’ve got the goutweed on the run in that area. Except that in desperation it's put up a whole bunch of new shoots, which I'm going to cut off at the soil level.
Stay tuned for further developments.
Now, to counteract the goutweed and the right some ugly part of the yard--the roses are doing spectacularly at present, and as of this morning there had been no balling in any of the light coloured ones. Here's Polareis, with Hansa behind it, and a bit of Thomas Lipton peeking out of the red-osier dogwood (six feet in the air).
In the ‘something completely different’ category, I’ve started a lens on Squidoo. Mostly this is just another way to network with other gardeners, and I’m not entirely sure I’ll keep it but it was recommended to me by a fellow freelance writer, so why not? You can drop in and visit the lens if you’re feeling bored.