Sunday, 15 April 2012

Root 666

If garden writers, lifestyle journalists and the folk at B & Q are to be believed, growing your own is meant to be fun. Often involving bright colours, hazy images of sunset at the allotment, and children. Always children when portraying images of gay abandon, such as you might find raising tomatoes.

Not in my garden.

Last year I was saved by kind readers from mistaking potentially deadly ground elder for elderflower (also potentially deadly when mixed with champagne. At least in the quantities I would probably be tempted by).

I was wisely advised to remove it quickly from the garden to avoid it spreading. And I did. Well, lets say I removed 95% of it, the bits around the base of an old tree requiring perhaps too much effort to clear. 

Roots prior to being 'Green Binned'
But just like Hollywood, I should have made sure I killed off the bad guy properly. I turned my back and bang - it's back for revenge. Why oh why do they never give up?!

So instead of spending a joyous sunny Sunday potting beans with a heart full of hope, I was cursing under my breath as I discovered the true extent of this devil weed. Oh yes, it divides itself and heads off in all directions, creating its underworld cackling away as it meanders past worm, buried stone and, as I have also annoyingly discovered, buried cat crap.

Seen here surrounding and killing off a more deserving plant
On the surface its murky green leaves have blocked out the sun for plants that are more deserving and it surrounded my healthy bay tree with dark intent.
Burying the bay
Next time a gardener advises you to get rid of something, do it properly. Don't succumb to the temptation of the good stuff, ignoring the warnings. You'll only end up like me, stuck in horticultural limbo, wanting to taste gardening heaven, yet fearing your actions will take you on the opposite journey.


Rachel said...

I removed 95% of my ground elder last year, too. The remaining 5% is growing through a wall and under a hedge - I declare that impossible to remove without destroying both wall and hedge.

I've been eating the leaves for the last two months - they're really quite tasty - so I'll forgive it for overrunning the rhubarb, just so long as it leaves my peas alone!

Whole Lotta Lottie said...

I like to call it grrrround elder - it grows back when you aren't looking. Happy 1st Birthday.

The Hapless Kitchen Gardener

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I only feel hapless because some people make it look easy to grow 10 ft marrows or a banquet of greens whereas my courgettes got nabbed by killer slugs and I only got one raspberry. So tips and stories from people less hapless than I are more than welcome. As a disclaimer though, none of my comments should be taken as expert advice on which you can rely! © Unless stated otherwise, and with the exception of guest content where that guest retains copyright, all photos and posts are the copyright of Tom Carpen and may not be used without permission.