2/14: friend or foe?

This ground cover with purple flowers is pretty, but is it a plant or a weed?

purple groundcover purple groundcover (2) purple groundcover (3) purple groundcover (4)

I’ve asked at a nursery, where they suspected it may be a variety of salvia. I remember being given a bunch of salvia a couple of years ago, but I’m not sure they looked exactly like this. Can seeds from flowers revert to a different looking species? Coincidentally, I went to a community nursery where I spied the same plant growing in their grounds, but they were unable to identify it and suspected it was a weed.

Then I also recall my mother complaining about a purple weed in the garden. Was it this type? In any case, what is a weed? The Concise Macquarie dictionary defines it as:

1. a plant growing wild, esp. in cultivated ground to the exclusion of the desired crop.

2. any useless, troublesome, or noxious plant, esp. one that grows profusely.

I actually like this plant; it’s just where it has sprung up I don’t like, because it is in a slightly more formal, stylised area of the garden. In another area this plant could do very well.

Even plants that are sold as legitimate ones can be invasive. Just look at seaside daisies, Erigeron, which can become somewhat invasive, taking over entire areas.

I’ve decided that you just have to contain these plants. Ivy is known as a weed and yet it is pretty and can help suppress other worse weeds, so I have developed a system, keeping some of these plants, but limiting where they are allowed to grow. It’s fun pretending to have some control over nature.

Meanwhile, I think this purple groundcover may officially be a weed, but if I plant it in my cottage garden with the seaside daisies I think it will be rather attractive.

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51/52: red and green for the season

One little area that was overgrown with seaside daisies has had a re-vamp, just in time for Christmas. Erigeron is great for a cottage garden, spreading itself with wanton abandon. I have a number of plants in the garden that I am constantly trying to control.

Swaying between a casual, cottage garden and a more formal, trimmed and pruned look, I sometimes allow areas to become a little overgrown. Currently this garden bed has been allowed to go a little wild, and was more than ready for some timely revision.

overgrown with seaside daisiesWith that in mind, I dug up all the seaside daisies, Erigeron, and trimmed back the irises to little stalks, reminding myself to separate the bulbs and spread them across this garden bed next March, as two dozen in a clump is rather too much.

Meanwhile, I have planted mainly red bedding begonias , plus some Pratia, a small-leafed ground cover with tiny blue flowers. Hopefully this will eventually cover the entire area, and any Erigeron that sneaks through will be eradicated.

fitting for the seasonred and green makeover for ChristmasThe result is rather festive, just in time for Christmas, but will be lovely on a continuing basis, particularly when the ratio of plants to mulch is greater than at present.

10/52: a tweak or two

Sometimes you can spend ages on a garden project with less-than-perfect results, whilst at other times a few adjustments can make a huge visual difference.

This week, in keeping with my plans to de-accumulate and organise the inside of my house, it has spilt over into the garden. Somewhere I read that you should only keep something because it is useful, beautiful or you simply love it, which in turn led me to look outside with a fresh eye.

Just because something has been there almost forever, doesn’t mean it still works in that position, either functionally or visually.

With a little tweak or two, I tidied up a couple of areas nicely. The first area took a little time, involving trimming back the notorious seaside daisy (Erigeron) and pruning a couple of dead branches to reveal some semi-forgotten rocks and succulents.

needs a little maintenance

maintenance accomplished

The other mini makeover entailed simply removing an almost dead golden diosma, relocating one of the potted olive trees, and getting rid of some elephant ears, resulting in a much cleaner, sleeker look for minimal effort. A tweak or two at times can certainly work!

needs a little tweaking

cleaner lines