Posts Tagged ‘garden’

Identity crisis

May 28, 2012 Leave a comment

Foxglove and burdock – hide the top and spot the difference

In the early spring it would be possible for me to kid myself that the foxgloves we introduced to the garden had seeded themselves in all sorts of interesting places.

Sadly I know this isn’t the case. We’re in fact harbouring a powerful and (where it gets comfortable enough to grow a tap root) almost indestructible weed – burdock.

Until they declare themselves, foxglove and burdock plants look remarkably alike. The photo shows a foxglove growing and a burdock uprooted and set alongside it.

The main difference is that the central vein is reddish on foxglove leaves and starkly white on burdock leaves.

In our case there isn’t much danger of pulling up foxgloves by mistake. Basically if you don’t remember planting it there, it’s a burdock.

Peppermint roots

March 17, 2012 Leave a comment

Multiple stolon of peppermint

Why is it the best things are also the worst?

Peppermint is an easy plant to grow, it smells lovely, it’s useful in cooking, and yet it can invade your garden and turn it into a peppermint farm.

The plant’s main invasion tool are its stolons, or horizontal stems, which creep along and send out roots and shoots at intervals. 

Young stolons are an attractive bright purple, while the grandaddy ones are crusty brown and can be thicker than the base of your finger. Either way they’re a force to be reckoned with.

I’m very reluctant to have an all-out war on this lovely plant, but I’ve recognised the need to pull up some of it.