Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Disgraceful behaviour

Lots of gardeners have one or more little patches in their garden which they 'tut-tut' about as being a bit of a disgrace, something they plan to attend to, where unruly plants have taken over and a bit more order is well overdue. I have one of those, right underneath my lime tree, and as soon as this summer heatwave is over I might even do something about it, probably, perhaps. But right now even the weeds are looking good there, so I'll just blog about them, instead of doing any real work.

Pretty blue, the tradescantia flowers, aren't they? A bright blue that lasts one day. This is the ultimate weed. If just one molecule of tradescantia remains in the ground after weeding the area, it will be back. But it's not the main occupant of my field of disgrace and neglect.

Nor is it this lonely, last survivor of the convolvulus plant that enjoyed just one good spring here two years ago. It's just a remnant now, merely part of the problem, without being the problem.

This is the problem, and it's a native plant. Viola hederacea, the Australian native violet. This is every bit as tenacious and ineradicable as tradescantia, yet hardly anyone describes it as a weed (yet!). I've tried to be rid of it several times, but it always comes back. All it needs is one survivor from a bit of neglectful weeding and it's in with a chance, especially if I get busy at work, go on holidays or merely concentrate on other parts of the garden for too long.

The spread of native violets is green and healthy and lovely and lush, rising not much higher than the book my official garden librarian gnome, Mitchell, is trying to read. Its little white and bluey-purpley flowers are out in bloom almost year-round, too. So why get rid of such a great groundcover? It never knows when or where to stop. It's a compulsive invader, quite a badly behaved garden neighbour in fact. However, for the meantime it's too hot to even think about doing much work in the garden, so I've planted some complementary blues to create the illusion that this disgraceful patch of blue is all part of some intentional design.

Across the pathway, blue alyssum loves the heat and humidity.

A few feet away, so does the blue salvia, soaking up the summer sun.

And in pots nearby, the pinky-blue chive flowers participate in the charade.

It's all a hoax, I'm afraid. One of these days, as soon as the weather cools, I will lift once more my Quixotic 'garden weeder' equipment and tilt once more at these weedy blue windmills. Not sure how much success I'll have, but until this scorching summer is over, the uneasy truce continues.


Chandramouli S said...

Gnome looks happy among the blooms. Great to see! Lovely blue. Great photos!

Sunita said...

That Viola looks too pretty to be a pest.
I sympathise with your gardening in hot weather. Reading it gave me a foretaste of what I'm in for in about 1-2 months time :P

buedamau said...

by the pics no one would say there's invaiders out there! but here, portugal, we have one of ours too, and i would say it's a abandon places plant, eventually taking over all the space with it's green and thousands of almost-blue flowers. and if you say it's not a really invader i imagine yr native violets...

Bear said...

Thanks so much for your advice. It's a relief to know I'm probably not doing anything too wrong with the plants.
I'll try and be patient till March...I'm terrible at just leaving the garden alone, which is most possibly the problem!
Btw, I'd value your opinion on a small shade tree for that ugly garden bed on my blog. Nothing huge but will provide some protection in the mid day sun in summer.

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Anonymous said...

One word...Roundup!

Jamie said...

Dear Anonymous
There's no Roundup used in my little organic garden. Perish the thought!

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Kevin Riley said...

Your Tradescantia is a Commelina - also a native plant. The flowers on Tradescantia is white. Commelina is much easier to get rid of than Tradescantia. Just tellit you want it to grow and it should die in a few weeks :)