The Garden Community for Garden Lovers

Wicked Weeds and their Wily Ways!


Having waxed lyrical about Japanese Knotweed following on from Peter’s question about Ground Elder the other day, I started to think about the weeds that really cause me problems in my own particular garden. I can’t photograph all of them, as some are still lurking under the ground – Are you familiar with Bryony? It grows fast and clings with tendrils onto my plants, craftily hiding itself at the back of the border until I notice that plants seem to be ‘tied’ to each other – then I have to wade in and pull it out! Then there is one with completely different habits – bad ones of course!

This one is my old friend the Hairy Bittercress. It hides between plants, low to the ground, then flowers and shoots its seeds out in all directions – if I miss just one plant when I weed, I get dozens of its babies to pull up, and they grow, flower, seed etc and so on. The next wicked weed is the dreaded Couch Grass.

This is fine to remove when it just grows in the flowerbeds – but it had taken up residence in a lovely big clump of Saxifrage when we came here, as well as amongst my hardy Osteospermums. Apart from digging the whole lot up and losing my plants, I have to be patient and sit and pull as much as I can out to make the beds look respectable and cared for.

What do you call ‘Goosegrass’ in your area? I know that some people call it ‘Cleavers’.

This one pops up, along with its friend the Nettle, whenever I have disturbed the soil. It is also rampant amongst the Phuopsis stylosa – and its young shoots look very, very similar! It is reasonably easy to remove, thank goodness, and strangely, Henry eats it! It has another friend called ‘Wild Madder’ – this looks like a darker green version, but it’s a perennial and has wickedly sharp edges to its stems. I gather that early man used the roots to make red dye! My last photo is of a plant with a beautiful name – ‘Winter Heliotrope’ – have you come across this?

It is a very deep-rooted plant which has big leaves like a Coltsfoot and I can’t get rid of it. It really grows next door, but it creeps under the fence into my rose bed and comes up right next to the house wall. A thorough nuisance. Of course, that’s not the only weeds I have, but don’t get me started on brambles or wild hops, thistles or any of the other horrors – they all have their own wicked and wily ways, don’t they! What’s the worst one that really annoys you in your garden?

More blog posts by spritzhenry

Previous post: I just CAN'T, even though I should!

Next post: Hard work today - and all week!!



Mine is Horsetail - and I don't care that it is among the oldest plants on Earth! One of those weeds that, like celandine, couch grass and ground elder, you involuntarily help multiply, due to the underground runners. I wish strawberries were as productive. This weed thing that Peter and you have started should be expanded upon. Weeds are
an integral part of gardening, after all.

2 Feb, 2008


Bindweed!!! The never ending battle to beat bindweed can be soul destroying.
Oh and another 'ornamental' that was introduced down here by an unscrupulous seller is Trefoil. Looks like oxalis, has tiny pink flowers and spreads like wildfire - it is a nuisance.
Oh and belle de nuit (Mirabilis jalapa) self seeds everywhere. It is a real bully

2 Feb, 2008


sounds to me as though we all need to learn to love weeds!

3 Feb, 2008


Thanks for your help, Spritz. My least favourite right now is my ground elder because I had to use weed killer on it!!

3 Feb, 2008


gound elder, bindweed, blackberry bushes, and knettles are amonst my favorites, although we do have lots of others too, that i don't know the names for. having a garden that is new and had been left to its own devices for many years before we arrived proberly means it will take a while to get rid of them all. and i am sorry Sgwbsyci - don't think i will ever love them! lol i know that Alan Titchmarsh claims that there is no such thing as a weed - just a plant in the wrong place, but that is fine if you have acres of land and don't mind the overgrown wild look - i disagree i have limited space and a weed is a weed as far as i am concerned! and it will be removed by all means necessary! lol

3 Feb, 2008


This looks like a good, useful blog, but I can't view the pictures - do you know why?
I've been thinking that a post on weeds (recognising them with good clear photos) would be handy, and my garden ideal for subjects, they'd be queueing up, lol.
However, I've never yet been that organised.

27 Feb, 2009

Add a comment

Featured on

Recent posts by spritzhenry

Members who like this blog

  • Gardening with friends since
    1 Mar, 2008

  • Gardening with friends since
    9 Aug, 2009