Barbie's garden Bugs & Pests Gardening Perenniels

Gutter Garden

I have heard the saying, “Weeds are flowers that don’t know that they have to grow in a row”. Well, I have found a new respect for this common plant – my new name for a weed.

The Dictionary defines a weed: weed |wiːd|noun: “a wild plant growing where it is not wanted and in competition with cultivated plants.” Well, that is not always true. I have a place for “weeds” in my garden and they are very much wanted. Nettles is one common plant that I use often to make teas and green fertiliser. Plantain is a very, very nutritious common plant and has yet to reveal its many benefits.  Thistle and Dandelion are used in herbal medicine and bring the bees.Weeds bring nutrition back to the soil when we have stripped it from natural minerals. Some have deep roots so they can take up the minerals deep from within the soil, bringing it to the surface. Some have shallow roots and keep the soil from eroding. You will see them work their wonders when you look at road works – the bare ground will quickly form a carpet of green and these are weeds starting their magic! If we take care and learn about Mother Nature, she has a purpose for these hard workers, and I hope we will treat these common plants with much more dignity and respect.

Well, we forget that they don’t need us – they grow anywhere, they are able to find nutrition from any waste area.

The Sow-Thistle is a well-known weed in every field and garden. It is a perennial, growing from 1 to 3 feet high, with hollow thick, branched stems full of milky juice, and thin, oblong leaves, more or less cut into (pinnatifid) with irregular, prickly teeth on the margins. The upper leaves are much simpler in form than the lower ones, clasping the stem at their bases.

Habitat: Spiny Sow Thistle propagates from re-seeding. It grows in many waste places, accepts various soils, most to slightly dry conditions, but needs full sun. Sow thistles got their name because they were fed to lactating pigs. They love them, as do rabbits which is why they are sometimes called Hare Thistles.

What weeds do you see often?? What benefit can you think of??

Happy gardening xxxx


Christine's garden Gardening Home page features Trees

Look what I found whilst weeding!

I’m sure for seasoned gardeners this is no big deal, but I was excited (and a bit dismayed) to find this little birds nest lying in my garden today whilst I was pulling out weeds. I was excited because it’s the first time I’ve found one (and it provided a great photo-op for the new macro lens) and because it tells me that the birds like living in my trees. On inspection, I then found a few more bird nests in my actual trees – but the others are all a lot bigger than this one.

This sweet little nest is about 12cm in diameter at it largest width. Any ideas about  what type of bird this would belong to? Oh, and another question – what is the correct thing to do when finding a nest on the ground? Just leave it there? (that’s what I’ve done, for now).

I was a bit upset because I was worried about the “nest owner” missing her home, but perhaps they have built a new one? There were no eggs in it so I assume they no longer need it. On my shopping list – I’ve ordered a new bird bath from Peppino’s which will arrive next week tomorrow (Yay!). This will go out back where there is no water feature and I found the other bird nests. They need a bath and water so I need to supply … right?

[one_half]Birds NestBirds Nest[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Closer viewBirds Nest[/one_half_last]

Happy gardening

Christine's garden Gardening Home page features

Controlling weeds in the garden

Weeds in the gardenOur blog has been going for all of a week and we’ve had our first real gardening question. I set up a Facebook page (The Gardening Blog on Facebook) and a Twitter account (@ourgardens) for our blog and as is to be expected, we’ve had few followers so far. In fact, I recognise only our daughters and ourselves following our Facebook page. But then somehow we’ve already managed to attract a few followers on Twitter and we’ve had a real live question! So Liesel, this post is specially for you … you asked; “@ourgardens thanks for the follow. Tips on how 2 get rid of weeds in garden without gardener?”

In August I had my entire garden “replanted” by a gardening expert. It cost a lot and I was determinded not to let all that go to waste by not taking proper care of my “new” garden, so the ongoing battle with the weeds started. Every day I would do a walk around the garden and pull up any new weeds … and it took a lot of time. I’m very busy with work and other things so I found it quite annoying. I am spoilt – I have a garden service who come once every two weeks, but they are not very good at removing weeds – they get rid of all the leaves (I have so many trees and keeping the garden tidy is a huge mission, so that is what they concentrate on) and they do a general clean up. But weed-removing does not seem to be their forte, so I have the ongoing battle of removing the weeds myself. And because all the plants are new and we are waiting for them to grow, there are lots of bare patches just waiting for the weeds … so it really is an almost daily mission. Or at least, it was!

Bark MulchOnce again, Kathryn (my garden expert!) to the resue – At the beginning of December she recommended we lay down bark mulch which makes the soil look more attractive, as well as feeding the acid loving plants and keeping the water in the soil. We did this and an added bonus is, it seems to have totally controlled the weeds! Yes there are still a few stragglers that get through the mulch, but considering that it is summer and prime growing season, the weeds are now few and far between! Another thing I did was plant annuals in some of the bare patches – lots of Impatiens in the very shaded areas and Dianthus in the areas that get more sun. This not only looks pretty, but having plants growing in those areas snuffs out the light so the weeds can’t seem to get through.

I am seriously no gardening expert and am learning as I go along. Experienced gardeners will probably cringe at my advice … but its working for me! The only area I still need to remove weeds from daily is the area outside the property – on the verge – where we did not lay mulch and I haven’t planted anything else. So thats my answer … mulch! You can get it delivered to your house and then you’ll have to throw it down yourself or get a gardener just for a day to do it for you.

On these two photographs you can see how the bark mulch looks in my garden (apologies for the poor quality of the photographs) but it shows that it does look a lot better than bare soil. Click to view the enlargements.

[one_half]Bark Mulch with Impatiens[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Bark Mulch at the back[/one_half_last]