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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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

92/366: greenstead not so magnificent

Another problem caused by our extended trip overseas in 2011 came in the form of the lovely little Greenstead Magnificent in the back yard being swamped by the ubiquitous seaside daisy.If I had remembered that I had planted it there, when we returned last October I could have easily trimmed around it, rescuing it before getting to this sad stage.

C’est la vie. The choice between having a healthy Greenstead Magnificent or going around the world for ten weeks is actually no choice at all.

Now let’s see if this plant can manage to regenerate. I shall keep you posted!

53/366: gotta love these pebbles

In some areas where the mulch is wearing down, I have elected to replace it with stones. They seem to be the new “in” thing in gardens, but have in fact been around for years. As usual, even garden fashions change. Weeds can still sneak in, but the good thing about stones and pebbles is that they are a fairly permanent fixture. They don’t rot down, but need a greater outlay of money in the first place. Mulch is a consumable, which protects the ground from weeds until it starts to rot down, but if you don’t top it up quickly enough, can actually encourage more weeds because it provides a compost base on which to thrive.

On ebay you can sometimes pick up a bargain for the garden. In this case I managed to buy a number of 10 kilo bags of these stones at a fraction of the price that I would have had to pay at a garden supply outlet.

This little corner of the garden, near the front porch, was requiring all too regular weeding, partly because I had seaside daisy growing there, so a neatening-up was in order. I seem to be doing a lot of that lately. Hopefully some of these projects will save some time,  so that I can keep creating, spending less time on actual garden maintenance.