Weeds growing as if there’s no tomorrow

Aster Alma Potschke

Aster Alma Potschke

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Can you believe we’re losing light in the evenings so rapidly? The weeds know that the daylight hours are shorter because they are growing as if there’s no tomorrow.

Chickweed all over the allotment is smothering the soil – and it’s even over the tops of the wallflowers despite them being weeded just over a month ago.

Where the ground is empty (the previous crop was potatoes), it’s not only chickweed but masses of milk thistle too.

This area has been marked out in strips about a yard wide and has been sprayed with Weedol 2. Within three days, the whole lot turned yellow and is now as dead as a doornail.

I’m hoping to get this area dug a little bit at a time and am planning to do just half an hour of digging every evening. But I must get on with this job because the spring cabbage plants are destined to go into the area where the potatoes grew.

Once planted out, the dreaded nets have to be erected to stop the pigeons, doves, deer, badgers, butterflies, moths and everything else that preys on these beauties. Gardening is not always easy!

There was a nasty patch of bindweed racing up some raspberry canes and it took a long time to unwind.

After a light trampling of the stems on the ground, these were sprayed with Roundup. This is a very effective way of dealing with this weed, but a great deal of patience is necessary because if the spray drifts onto the raspberries, they too would have died.

There is another little trick to try. Once the bindweed starts to die off in about a fortnight, spray it again and it will kill its roots and underground stems.

It’s not all bad news. I cut the Leylandii hedge at the bottom of the garden and had it all cleared away in just under three hours. Then it was up to the recycling centre.

Can you believe that Leylandii grows over three feet in a year? Well mine did!

There are some lovely gems to be enjoyed right now. The autumn-flowering cyclamen, which are only about 4-5ins high, are in full bloom with literally dozens of pink and white flowers.

What a lovely surprise to see the Colchicums in bloom too – and because it’s been calm they’ve not been pushed over by the wind.

The Michaelmas daisies are just brilliant. There are Aster King George (a light blue only 3ft tall), Aster Frickartii Monch (a little bit darker) and, best of all, Aster Alma Potschke (brilliant red, just over 3ft tall).

They’re in full bloom and bring a bit of magic to the herbaceous border.

One of the best long-lasting perennials is Gaillardia. We bought a group of three to fill a huge gap where a conifer blew down. Regular deadheading means they are still in full bloom.

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