03 April, 2011

My Weeds

For twenty years, I had a 350' long perennial bed under the fir trees. You could always work out there any time of the year as the fir boughs kept the soil from turning into a pig wallow from our Oregon rains.
Until two of the trees uprooted last year and started leaning towards the neighbor's house. . . . .

Do you see that sneaky berry vine hiding to the left of the dandelion?

We took out 18 of the 40 year old Christmas Trees and inundated 200' of the bed with sunny bright light. Rather promptly, 2000 blackberry vines raged forward. Three varieties of thistles competed with the berry vines for space and an army of artillery weeds holds forth this Spring. All of the dormant seeds from the last thousand years have sprouted, thanks to the improved lighting.
***Hint: to grow things, you need light.

Mint Invasion

So - my tentative plan is to rip out the perennials and replant with a vague Japanese feel with tall shrubs and trees. I don't believe I will ever get totally pruned into the Japanese manner - let's just say I will attempt a loose Japanese interpretation.

Do you know how difficult it is to rip out beloved flowers?

You have to get into a ruthless frame of mind, but it didn't happen today.
Today, between sunbreaks and light hail, I did another round of pulling 'weeds'.

Obviously distracted by the enormity of the job, I went back inside to get the camera to document my progress  (really needed to stretch out the back again).

The pinkish flower is from my Christmas Cheer Rhody. Clockwise from there, artillery weed is the tiny white flowers that will take aim at your eyes in just a few days. The other round leaf that is shaped on the outside is Columbine. Maybe a million Nora Barlow seedlings have burst forth.
Under the fir trees, they behaved themselves respectfully. This spring? they are reproducing themselves into a nuisance weed. Yes, they are weeds. They'll have to go.

Clockwise: Dandelion variety top left, a ziillion foxgloves, aforementioned million columbines. They are all popping up crazylike.
I borrowed those first foxgloves from the local woods. Mostly purple, a few were white. I'm used to moving these as each year they would reach for the sun at the edge of the fir boughs and drop their seeds near the front of the bed. I would take my small shovel and pop out the seedlings and plunk them back into the back of the bed where it was shady.
I have to repeat this photo as Dandelions have certainly repeated themselves. My mom was always trying to hide dandelion leaves in our salads. We've always had dogs and us kids - who had to pick up the dog poo, couldn't quite bring ourselves to embrace the dandelion leaf as food.
This morning, I read an article on the health benefits of Dandelion Greens, They contain Oligofructose which is great for your gut. I've got super gut problems so it was interesting,  . . . somewhat ( I still have dogs).
The article I was reading is this months issue of First Magazine. Here's another article on dandelions.

Another type of Iris that is a biennial. I bought the first one so long ago, I have forgotten the name. This plant blooms the second year with a 18" stalk with butter yellow tiny flowers held tight to the stalk. It might not even be in the iris family or else fallen out of favor as I can't source it right now. Anyway, the yearlings are also everywhere. Easy to pull and not as emotionally charged as the columbines who are so much prettier.
Underneath this iris, see more columbine and at the bottom middle - slightly to the left is a fireweed.
OH wait, tucked under the right side of the iris is another foxglove.

Here's a much prettier purple iris who just needs last years brown leaves stripped away.
This is when I went back inside to get the camera. The before picture was hidden under 50 artillery weeds.
In the foreground, I've forgotten this flower's name but it spreads underground with glossy long  round leaves and a white flower. The Iris's are mostly staying but I'm not at all sure if I will take out this low-growing white flower.

We are down to just the Iris's and the columbines in this photo.
The columbines will have to go or have a major transplant moment - -but not today.

And here we have an exploded version of the old herb bed.
Where the differing Mints have gone forth and become one mint.
The mints needs to be dug up and thrown on the burn pile. Mostly peppermint and spearmint.
Do you need some?  Maybe two square feet as a starter plant? All ya gotta do is throw the mat of roots down and presto! -- you have a mint bed.
Clockwise, we see some dandelion variety standing tall, bottom left is yearling biennial Iris's, remaining tall snowdrops, a boxwood, and a nectarine fruit tree. This location is approximately where I would love to create a small water feature, so in all probability, these will get moved on as well.

Taken at the Portland Japanese Gardens

This particular spot is opposite my patio where I could block the pathway the neighbor's kids and mine took years ago. It wouldn't take much to run a water line out (40') and hook up a bamboo water pipe. Maybe one that bangs when it gets full so as to scare away the neighborhood kitties? haha

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