Thursday, April 10

Weeds come in all sorts of guises.

Weeds can come in the form of any plant that is growing where you don't want it to especially if it is so prolific that removing it is problematic.

One plant that classifies as a weed in our garden is cyclamen hederifolia. "Hederifolia", means ivy leaved - the photo below clearly shows why it was given this name..
I actually started with two of these plants - one white and one pink. When they set seed I collected them to try and increase my stock and thought how clever I had been when they germinated and I ended up with more young plants.

Since I've realised that I wasn't at all clever as the seeds will germinate almost anywhere with no outside assistance. Any small crevice will do.
Gradually the cyclamen colonised the garden popping up in all sorts of places.
In the photo above they are muddled in amongst another plant/weed -Cymbalaria muralis (ivy-leaved toadflax or Kenilworth ivy). This is a plant that I really wish I had never planted as it secretly spreads by way of underground runners. Any tiny piece that is missed when trying to weed it out grows like wildfire.  I bought the toadflax as at an alpine nursery some years ago so expected it to be restrained - I should have known better and realised it was the same plant that colonised gaps in old walls, (obviously where the muralis bit comes from). Somehow the toadflax has migrated to the plot and colonised a tub that once was home to a fig.
The fig was rescued from its clutches. The flowers of the toadflax are very pretty and belie the plants thug like habit.

The seeds of cyclamen hederifolia are spread by ants which doesn't really explain why we had clumps colonising  the allotment plot long before we actually planted any there. Either we have hitch-hiking ants or we inadvertently spread the seed by some other means.
Cyclamen first appeared in the grass under the plum trees and don't seem to mind being frequently being mowed over. The ones below have appeared in a line which could easily denote an ant trail.
We have now planted one or two tubers in the blueberry bed. The plant below has gradually become larger and the tuber now about the size of a tea plate.
These are also producing masses of seedlings.
Last year I thought I had dug out all the tubers from this small area ready to plant some alpines there this year.
If you miss any of the tiny immature tubers they make an attempt at recolonisation as seen in the photo of the same area taken in March.
More weeding required. Not only have the two original plants mass produced in our garden and allotment plot but many have been given away and are busy colonising the gardens of friends and family.

I still haven't planted out the cyclamen coum that I raised form seed a couple of years ago.
All my seed raised cyclamen coum have deep pink flowers and so on a recent visit to Harlow Carr I couldn't resist the temptation to add a white variety to my collection.
I wonder if when I plant this out it will also become a garden thug? Then again they are really pretty thugs so I'll take the risk.







22 comments:

  1. Perhaps the lesson to be learnt is to avoid anything with ivy in its name. It's a very pretty 'weed' though, I'd much rather have those making a take over bid than something more sinister.

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    1. Like for instance - bindweed? It's the bane of our allotment, Jo.

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  2. Oh... too pretty to be a weed...

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    1. Appearances can be deceptive, Endah

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  3. Such pretty, delicate looking flowers for 'thugs'.

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    1. That;s how they lul you into buying them tpals

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  4. Oh Sue & they are pretty too, I remember an aunt giving my dad a very small ivy cutting many years ago. It grew into a monstrous beast that took over the garden wall!

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    1. They are pretty Joanne which is their saving grace

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  5. They are pretty thugs as you say, we have toadflax too and I rather like it. The bane of my life is crocosia, it grows like a weed and is all over the garden, it grows in matted groups that are so hard to dig up, I have a problem with ferns too and they are hard to get out too. Still, not as bad as mare's tail and bindweed....xxx

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    1. Yes crocosmai can be a determines plant, Snowbird. I could have also mentioned violets that seed themselves all over the garden including amongst pot plants where their hold is very tenacious.

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  6. Its strange how a plant can take over in one garden but not take over in another. Suppose it depends on the conditions etc. I recall a garden designer recommending poached egg plant for a new garden and I consider it a bit of a thug. I do like the white cyclamen you have bought, suppose a few of them multiplying throughout would be a good thing!

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    1. We have poached egg plant on the plot Kelli and it is now coming up through tarmac!

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  7. They're lovely, both the flower and the foliage. I've got a smallish patch in the front garden that I love because they've survived in a very inhospitable spot.

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    1. That is one good thing about tough plants CJ. They survive where nothing else will

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  8. Very pretty thugs. They beat ground elder.

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  9. Nice post Sue. It is certainly an up market garden you have for cyclamen and that beautiful toadflax as a weed!
    I can never understand gardeners complaining about their plants growing too well! My toadflax also spreads freely and I love it.

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    1. So what do you call a weed, Roger? What causes you to reach for the glyphosate? Aren't most conventional weeds just plants growing too well in the wrong place? I'm happy to go with the cyclamen but the toadflax problem is when it swamps other plants and then is so difficult to remove - like bindweed which is very pretty when growing wild but I don't want it tangled amongst my rapsberries.

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  10. At least yours are pretty thugs - my nightmare is ground elder - practically impossible to get rid of.

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  11. Well, if you have to have a weed, you could do worse than that one. I rather feel that Wild Garlic may go the same way in my garden...

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    1. It could certainly be worse, Mark. Good luck with the wild garlic.

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