Two things I learned while weeding today

– Posted in: Garden chores, Weather

It is easier to weed grass out of daylilies when the daylilies have gone dormant and the grass has not.

It is easier to weed grass out of daylilies when the daylilies have gone dormant and the grass has not.

I normally don’t weed my beds in November, because it is too chilly, wet, windy, and perhaps snowy. However, we have been enjoying a string of unseasonably warm days and I was able to take advantage of it today. Weeding grass out of daylily foliage is usually pretty tricky, because the leaves are so similar. But my daylilies have gone dormant, while the various weedy grasses will continue to grow until the ground freezes solid. If we get a good blanket of snow before that happens, those grasses may grow slowly all winter long. So it’s nice to get the upper hand for once. For a little while.


My favorite purply-plum hellebore has sprouts! This hellebore looks gorgeous when backlit. I can hardly wait to see if these seedlings bloom in the same deep hue.

I started out this mild day trying to be pragmatic. I had it in my head I should drain and store the garden hose, haul all the empty pots and window boxes down to the basement, and (sniff!) take down the hammock for the winter. But it all sounded so boring. Somehow I got my hands in the dirt, and I was a goner. What had I been thinking? I can do all that boring stuff when it’s chilly, wet, windy, and perhaps snowy. (Well, actually, the hammock should come down when it’s dry.) But the opportunity to pull some weeds in mild weather and moist soil, weeds that would be left to spring in a normal year, well, such an opportunity should not be missed. Especially since I find weeding so much more satisfying than draining hoses. (It is fascinating how far grass runners can travel in friable soil.)

I got the original hellebore from Seneca Hill Perennials. Owner Ellen Hornig has stopped offering hellebores in a big way, though she is sure to have something you’ve never grown–or even seen–before. According to her website, she will be accepting orders for spring after November 30. Gardeners, start your engines!

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.

When dealing with frost it is always best to be paranoid. In the spring never think it is too late for one more frost to come. And in the fall never think it too early.

~Rundy in Frost

Comments on this entry are closed.

Andrea November 11, 2008, 5:50 pm

Ahhhhh, the last chances to tidy-up before the ground is frozen or it’s just too darn cold. Love your site.

Layanee November 10, 2008, 7:14 pm

I am now lusting after that purple/plum hellebore. You are right about the backlighting. I will have to put Seneca Hills on the order list. I haven’t weeded in quite a while but I did notice some grass among the cotoneaster. Thank you for the reminder of grass removal.

commonweeder November 10, 2008, 9:13 am

Kathy, I often try to do a lot of weeding in the fall because it seems the roots are less tenacious. But you remind me that I still have a little time, and I haven’t even looked at the daylilies yet. The sun is shining today though!

Mr. McGregor's Daughter November 7, 2008, 6:16 pm

Pull weeds while the sun shines? You definitely made the right choice. It might be a long time before you get to pull weeds again. I’ve started deadheading my Hellebores as they self-sow way too easily in my garden. I feel sorry for anyone who can’t grow them as easily. They almost make you look forward to March.

Cindy November 7, 2008, 3:05 pm

It sounds like your day of temperate weather was well spent. We have to watch for nutsedge growing in the midst of daylilies here, made more difficult by the fact that they don’t go dormant. We can’t grow hellebores at all 🙁

Karen November 7, 2008, 1:31 am

Good for you, clear weather always calls for “fun” garden tasks for me too. Man, those weeds are really sprouting here in Seattle too! But today it never stopped raining for one minute so they got another day ahead of me.

Sue November 6, 2008, 10:41 pm

We had our shed repaired this summer, and moved lots of things into the garage. Now the garage needs to be cleaned out, since windshield scraping weather is coming. I had to laugh when I read about your not putting the hoses away yet, because I had the same thought process yesterday as I was spreading compost and harvesting my little fall radishes, lettuce, and carrots. I figured I’d rather clean the garage in the cold and snow, in order to have more gardening time. Of course I was also taking lots of photos!

Kathy Purdy November 6, 2008, 10:12 pm

eliz, you don’t comprehend what a noble sacrifice I made. I usually won’t mention Seneca Hill until after my order is in. Why encourage anyone to order the last of a treasure I may be wanting for myself? But this year I put you all on equal footing with me.

And it’s not like I don’t weed around the daylilies at other times. It’s just that it is much easier to see the interlopers at this time of the year.

eliz November 6, 2008, 9:52 pm

Ok, ok, I will order from Seneca Hill!! BTW, I feel free to yank at my daylilies at any time of year.

Carol, May Dreams Gardens November 6, 2008, 9:40 pm

Yes, I think you picked the perfect activity for today. I love to pull weeds in the fall and the early spring when the ground is damp and quite friable and see those roots give up so easily! It’s amazing how far those roots travel.