– Posted in: Garden chores
north bed before weeding North bed after weeding
Before: June 2004 After: July 2004

This is the bed I was talking about earlier. The two photos weren’t taken at the same angle, but you can use the white-variegated grass (bulbous oat grass, Arrhenatherum elatius subsp. bulbosum ‘Variegatum’) and the hosta ‘Francee’ to help orient you. The weeds in the first picture are primarily jewelweed, Impatiens capensis. The bed in the “Before” photo is actually partly weeded. When I started, the jewelweed overtopped everything, including the sizable hosta. It reminded me of a tropical rainforest in miniature. Fortunately, jewelweed is one of the easiest plants to pull out. In moist, cultivated soil you don’t even have to reach down to the roots. You can just grab the top of the plant and pull and it will come out, roots and all.

Jewelweed is a local native and in the less tamed areas of our land I am glad to have it around, because it relieves the sting of nettles and the itch of poison ivy. And frankly, I like the way it looks, though none of the plants in this overcrowded bed show it off to best advantage.

Visible in the “after” bed, in front of the hosta, is some kind of white-flowering violet. The foliage of double bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis ‘Multiplex’) and mayapple (Podophyllum peltatum) is visible to the right of this violet. Diagonally behind the mayapple foliage, even further to the right, is a big clump of inherited tawny daylily, good ol’ Hemerocallis fulva. As a matter of fact, this whole side of the house used to be nothing but orange daylilies and ferns, and I am gradually trying to dig out the former while preserving the latter. (I read once that the British use the terms “former” and “latter” the opposite of the way we in the U.S. do. Just in case this is so, I intend former=daylilies and latter=ferns.)

I haven’t done any work in the garden since, as it’s been raining every day in an intermittent fashion. As a matter of fact, I snapped the “after” photo in between cloudbursts. Sounds like the weather will be dry, if cloudy, tomorrow, and I hope to get the next little project done then.

About the Author

Kathy Purdy is a colchicum evangelist, converting unsuspecting gardeners into colchicophiles. She would be delighted to speak to your group about colchicums or other gardening topics. Kathy’s been writing since 4th grade, gardening since high school, and blogging since 2002.

In the end, this may be the most important thing about frost: Frost slows us down. In spring, it tempers our eagerness. In fall, it brings closure and rest. In our gotta-go world–where every nanosecond seems to count–slowness can be a great gift. So rather than see Jack Frost as an adversary, you could choose to greet him as a friend.

~Philip Harnden in A Gardener’s Guide to Frost: Outwit the Weather and Extend the Spring and Fall Seasons

Comments on this entry are closed.

jenn July 18, 2004, 4:59 pm

If you spot jewelweed, look for poison ivy. The two are commonly spotted together.

This is good to know when you are on a nice stroll through a nature trail.

Chan S. July 18, 2004, 9:17 am

Very nice! (I did not know about jewelweed and stinging nettle. I’ve got the latter–that is, nettle–but not the former, and use a baking soda salve when I inattentively grab a nettle). Hope it stops raining soon so that you can enjoy more time outside.