Press-Republican

Columns

May 21, 2012

Battling weeds a busy job

It's happened again.

In just the past week, my perennial flower garden has transformed into a jungle.

The plants and weeds had been emerging at a relatively normal rate, and I was barely keeping up with them. But then this recent perfect combination of mild temperatures followed by a few days of soaking rains and then sun has created ideal growing conditions.

Both my perennials and the weeds have put on a surge of growth. It's actually a bit intimidating to figure out where to begin.

I'm guessing I'm not the only one in this situation, so I thought it might be helpful if I described my plan of attack.

I start by walking around my garden and really studying what's there. Some perennials are well-behaved and take care of themselves with little help from me, such as baptisia, peonies and astilbe.

Then there are those that I like, but if I don't remove about a third of each clump each year, they'll take over; these include bee balm, evening primrose and campanula (bellflower).

Some perennials self-sow readily, which means they drop seed at the end of the year and their seedlings pop up all over the garden the following spring. This group includes columbine, annual poppy, Johnny jump-up and oxeye daisy.

And then there are the weeds. My two worst enemies are quackgrass, with its long white rhizomes that spread underground, and ground ivy or creeping Charley, with its crinkled round leaves that spread over the ground, forming a mat. In May, creeping Charley is covered with purple flowers.

I find it discouraging to try to tackle my whole garden at once or just pull out the worst of the weeds. Instead, I prefer to choose one section, about 10 feet by 10 feet and really clean that out well before moving on to the next.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Columns
  • Terry_Mattingly.jpg Easter with doubters and the 'nones'

    Should more pastors ask this blunt question: "Do you really believe Jesus was raised from the dead?" wonders religion columnist Terry Mattingly.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • ouellette.jpg Web doctor always gets it right

    I have access to the collected medical knowledge of all recorded history at my fingertips, columnist Steve Ouellette writes.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Black_Peter_2014_cropped.jpg Canadiens are Canada's team

    The National Hockey League playoffs are underway, and for Canadiens fans, many of whom likely reside in the Montreal "suburb" of Plattsburgh, it is a time of hope and joy.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • little_mug.jpg There's no saw like an old saw Kaye and I laughed ourselves silly the other day as we tried to top each other with our own sayings from childhood, columnist Gordie Little writes.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • Denenberg_Stu1.jpg Privacy concerns make a comeback

    There's a growing concern amongst the millennials, columnist Stu Denenberg writes.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • paul_grasso.jpg Several options exist for downtown

    Pedestrian mall just one idea that could be good for city's economic future, according to columnist Paul Grasso.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • colin_read.jpg Government can't create success on its own

    It takes a grass-roots community effort of people working together to assure future accomplishment, according to columnist Colin Read.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • Hagar_mug1.jpg Farmers strive for sustainability

    Conserving the land and assuring long-term profitability are two of the key goals for farmers these days, according to columnist Peter Hagar.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • Black_Peter_2014_cropped.jpg Big shift in Quebec vote

    Being a man of science, Philippe Couillard, premier-designate of Quebec, chose to use a geological term (though his field is actually medicine) to describe what happened in Monday's election, writes Canadian columnist Peter Black.

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Terry_Mattingly.jpg A monastery in the Hebrides, after 1,000 years

    Before Father Seraphim Aldea can build a monastery on Scotland's Mull Island, he needs to have a working septic system, writes religion columnist Terry Mattingly.

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

Peter Black: Canadian Dispatch

Lois Clermont, Editor

Cornell Cooperative Extension
Richard Gast: Cornell Ag Extension

Bob Grady

Guest Columns
Peter Hagar: Cornell Ag Connection

Health Advice

Ray Johnson: Climate Science
Gordie Little: Small Talk

Terry Mattingly: On Religion

Steve Ouellette: You Had To Ask

Colin Read: Everybody's Business

Pinch of Time