This lovely spring morning, I looked out my window at the front garden and groaned.
Over the winter, a horrible thing happened because we neglected to mulch last summer. Now I can barely see the daffodils around the weeds. I don't know why weeds grow so prolifically in early spring when the flowers themselves take so much coaxing, but leaving the weeds now will only make the work harder later on, so I know what my task will be this weekend.
Each of my gardens seems to have its own personal weed. In the vegetable garden, I can count on a vicious battle every summer with Hairy Galinsoga. This is a horrible weed for vegetable gardeners and I can attest to how diligent a gardener should be once this weed finds its way into a vegetable patch.
Some have asked me why it isn't a problem in the flower gardens, which circle the vegetables along with other gardens that aren't that far away, but the only answer I have is because the vegetable garden is continually cultivated, seeds are being turned up on a regular basis. Galinsoga, also called Ghost Plant because it seems to come up overnight and only takes a few days to grow, flower and set seeds, can disperse thousands of seeds over the garden. Once dispersed, the seeds remain viable for up to 10 years, where they simply wait until some unsuspecting gardener (me, for example) lifts them out of their slumber and sets them free to germinate.
In the back flower gardens, the problem is quack grass, ground ivy and chickweed. Those particular weeds actually were here first and we are the ones who invaded. Before my house was built in 1971, this area was a huge field. While the front yard and a close portion of the back were sown with grass, the main portion of the back was shorn to look like a lawn. This is not a city lot, nor is it a constructed development. I wouldn't say it is in the country either, but much of what is behind my yard is untouched and we like it that way.
And why wouldn't we? In the far back yard, wild violets bloom creating a blanket of lavender and purple. One of my favorite views off the back patio is when the violets are in bloom.
In summer, we see orange and yellow hawkweed in bloom. Sure, there is white and purple clover too, but even those aren't so bad, as long as they stay in the yard and don't venture into the gardens.
I really don't mind the back garden weeds. I mentioned last week that when I trench my gardens in spring, it takes a while for them to cross the line. And their shallow roots make for easy pulling when a stray does slip in.
But the front garden is the problem. You can put a house in a field, but you can't make the field completely go away. The lawn is nice with thick grass and the foundation planting was created from a plan that was designed to bring color and texture to the view.
There's a small corner conifer garden with trees of all sizes, varying green shades and leaf-shapes. A lovely clematis fills its trellis with blooms in spring and summer blooming cinquefoil, hydrangea and roses enjoy some space there too.
Trying to sneak in, however, are primarily two weeds, Lamium amplexicaule, also known as deadnettle or henbit, and Convolvulus arvensis, also known as hedge bindweed or wild morning glory. Henbit is the worst because it spreads so quickly and hides the smaller plants. The bindweed is simply annoying. I will often walk around the garden in summer, untangling the bindweed's long vines from other plants where it likes to climb and cling.
So this will be my weekend. Pulling henbit and cleaning out the front garden, retrenching and making it presentable and ready for a new layer of mulch. If done early and correctly, I won't have to touch it again this summer, except for that occasional stray weed.