Last year I wrote a post about getting my garden ready to cope without me while I’m travelling, https://gertiethehymer.wordpress.com/2017/03/08/readying-the-garden-for-travel/. We’re just off on another jaunt, this time to the Camargue region in France (there’s a post about this trip coming soon), so I thought it would be a good time to let those who are interested in such things know how the garden is faring.
Most of the groundcover plants are doing well, although the Pachysandra terminalis, usually a survivor in any situation, isn’t thriving…or to be more precise of the six plants that went in only one survives, and that’s not looking too peachy either. I really have no idea why this is, which is one of the reasons why, perversely, I love gardens and plants. You can’t make them do anything they don’t want to.
On the bright side, the other ground cover plants, Laminum maculatum, Erigeron karvinskianus, Bergenia ‘Overture’, Campanula portenschlagiana ‘Catharina’ (how could I resist?) and various varieties of Geranium are all doing the job brilliantly.
Having opened the beds out quite a lot, it’s given me the the opportunity to really get in there with the hoe, one of my favourite garden tools. I know the fashion is for dense planting with as little soil showing as possible, but really there’s nothing quite so effective as hoeing to keep the weeds in check. Done carefully it doesn’t break up the soil like a fork or rake will do, bringing more weed seeds to the surface. A hoe will disturb the nascent weed seedlings enough to prevent them growing and keep them in check for a few weeks so I’ll have less to deal with when I get home. Result!
Talking of weeds, this shy little beauty is known locally as Hairy Bittercress, or to give it it’s proper name Cardamine hirstuta. It’s invaded our village over the last few years and is very difficult to eradicate. If you try to pull it out the seeds will explode over a wide area. The most effective way to control it is by hoeing.