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    « Determination | Main | Mr. Jefferies Loves His Sweaters and the Wheelbarrow, RIP False Indigo, and Strawberry Fields Forever »

    Saturday, April 10, 2010


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    I will plant a few silly pots in a month or so and be damn glad I have no yard. You expressed my sentiments exactly. Except for the vegetable garden part--like I said, pots.

    May I suggest you get a massage and have a drink? Oy vey!

    Tressa in NC

    So, Norma, how about some pictures of this vile horsetail weed and those unloved beds in the front yard? I sure hope you had a nice cocktail and a good sleep after your rant -- it ain't worth settin' yourself on FIRE!! Nice yoga breaths . . ..


    Burn, Baby! Burn!

    (disco inferno... welcome to the earworm, the newest garden pest)


    Equisetum arvense (common horsetail) has some medical uses, believe it or not. If, like me, you suffer from joint or scar pain induced by imminent changes in the weather, try the following: boil horsetail for at least 3 minutes in water, strain off the liquid and drink. One cup a day for a month saw me through the rain season in Korea. It's got some other uses as well, ask your friendly neighbourhood herbalist.

    But as a gardener, yeah... Mum has declared war on it as well. "If faut cultiver notre jardin", as Candide said :-)


    You go! Food not Lawns is a great concept.

    However... if you have that many beds to convert maybe renting a mini back hoe might be just the thing.


    May I add that one should never accept an offer of free Physostegia? (which I was sure would look smashing with the Gooseneck Loosestrife...) I date my lingering mental illness to the moment I said "Sure! I have lots of room!"


    Maybe the best thing is just to start again? Dig up the perennials that you love and then till the whole thing. Maybe plant a small orchard.


    I'll bring some yarrow to use as kindling. Then we could have a really BIG bonfire...


    I feel this way about the stupid yucca plants. I allow for ONE because Dale's mother loved them and he wants one here in her memory. Fine. But those suckers try to invade everywhere and you can.not.kill.them. I have poured hot oil on them. I have poured gasoline on them. I have dug and dug and dug and they keep coming back. I feel your pain, Norma.


    You're kinda cute when you're royally pissed...

    Here, it's garlic mustard. And I ain't talking the stuff from the deli.


    Is it possible to learn to love the horsetail?


    I feel that way about the Bleeding Heart that we stupidly planted 20 years ago. It. Wouldn't. Go. Away.


    Horsetail? I feel your pain. The first place I tried to grow my own vegetable garden produced a mighty crop of horsetail. One of the advantages to renting is you get to leave such emotional heartbreak in your past. Have you considered moving? Maybe join the witness protection program?


    Sweet Jeebus. Thanks for telling me that I dodged a bullet. I almost bought a false indigo yesterday at the nursery because it's being promoted here as either Grow Native or 2010 Plant of the Year (can't remember the section I was in). My hands were full and it was too far to walk to get a basket. I made a mental note to buy one next time.

    /scratching out the mental note


    Frankly I'm surprised you didn't rip out the perennials in favour of vegetables sooner.

    Also, I think I might have a false indigo. And in a place where it can't stay forever. Uh-oh.


    I feel your pain! We have this pop-weed stuff (I don't know what it's real name is) that as soon as you touch it, it's seeds go flying EVERYWHERE! And when I look through gardening catalogs and see morning glory, my blood runs cold-are you kidding me? Who wants THAT rampant weed in their yard?! We gardeners are a crazy lot...

    Jean E.

    I guess I should stop complaining about the dandelions in my beds.


    You had this horsetail problem last year, but it must be much worse if you're thinking of burning the place down to eradicate it.


    Oh honey, I DO feel your pain. As soon as the 1st day of Spring's snows melted I have been in a race against time. I have learned that one can get up one day and see the Liriope all looks like complete dead ass. Much trimming, vine pulling, poison ivy vine CAN have a person covered in rash (even wearing gloves, sweat pants and sweat shirt). it was the 8.5 hour push on a front bed that sucked my soul. Now it's only a few hours every morning in the back. It will get cleaned up.
    I hope you've gotten to treat yourself to a fabulous massage. xox


    THIS. This is why I don't garden.


    Norma, I don't think I've mentioned lately that I freakin' love you.

    Another Joan

    The only thing that came close to working was improving drainage to a fare-thee-well. Of course, now I have issues with keeping enough water IN the soil but I don't have horsetail....


    Please add the invasive Trumpet vine to your list of bad plants! It has beautiful orange trumpet flowers...quite stunning actually...but wickedly invasive. The roots are deep and pop up everywhere.


    I have never encountered the thing. I should not even write those words. I do, however, do battle with Japanese bittersweet, emphasis on the bitter. It always wins. Although I don't have any, my personal nominee for evilest foul plant in the known universe is common reed. It's taking, or taken, over all my favorite swampland.

    Cheryl S.

    Feel better now?


    You know there are dwarf varieties of Baptisia, right? For me the appeal of perennials is that they come back every year without you having to go buy more. Usually. Of course, on the slope after our ledge, we're thinking to try to turn it into wildflower meadow. All 250 sq. ft. of it.


    Have I thanked you recently for your blog? Love your rants!!
    Maybe a massage and a nice glass of wine will help...


    Have you ever considered renting a man with a bobcat for a weekend? That with a truckload or two of compost might help in the front garden.

    Just a thought.



    A gardener's work is never done. I do battle with the dreaded garlic mustard. . . and mint. . . and some type of coral bells that I planted before I knew better. . . . and sedge that multiplies as I dig it out of the ground. I've learned: Never buy a plant that says "vigorous" or "fast growing" or "makes a great ground cover." Good luck to you. Here's to edibles in the front beds!


    Aw, tell us how you REALLY feel, Norma!

    elizabeth a airhart

    wayne winterrowd has a write up in

    horticulture magazine april 2010 he has

    northhill gardens your state of vermont

    worth giveing him a try?

    Seanna Lea

    I would almost feel sorry for the horsetail, but I figure you are giving it only a small amount of the hatred it deserves.

    I spent today doing my first (well, second, because last weekend also had yardwork) stab at the back yard, and turning my compost pile. It is huge and it is unfortunately almost all grass and leaves. I don't think it is getting hot enough, because there were tons of plants growing in it!

    Lisa in Toronto

    Funnily enough I think I killed a false indigo. It just didn't come back.
    I agree that bleeding heart took quite a while to get rid of.
    Ah well, that's the joy of gardening I guess.

    Will hot showers help your muscles?


    My friend told me last week that I should get some of her false indigo now (as in then) as it would soon be impossible. Hmmmm..... maybe I'll just leave it in her yard.

    And surprisingly, that horsetail is not an invasive species. It can be a nuisance (as you so aptly note).

    You need a vacation like mine (that I dream about), rum boy to fetch you stuff and a strong massage girl.


    OMG I am SOO happy I wasn't eating or drinking anything while reading this! SOO funny!!! We have a weed like that here. You can get rid of it, but it's a viney thing and a small piece can cling to anything!! It leaves the grass alone, but our night blooming jasmine was being strangled by it. And that's another one that you just can't kill. Sandspurs are nasty too.

    I like your idea of a veggie/fruit garden in front. Just came back from Bok Tower Gardens and the veggies they used were GORGEOUS!!! SO colorful!

    CaroleP (ohio

    Well I was thinking about trading my weed for yours until I saw the picture of yours! At least mine is a viney ground cover, don't know the name, but has little purple flowers and leaves like grapes. And it goes everywhere.........but not yet.
    Do you have slugs, or maybe moles? Maybe you could move some in to the horsetail. You could just shoot the moles, and beer kills slugs (maybe that wouldn't be a good idea) ;-) Good Luck, tho.


    Yegads, I love your rant. It is gardening as it truly is. You should submit that to Green Prints.

    karin maag-tanchak

    Oh I'm coming back here often. Love the gardening info I'm getting! I have a different weed that will not die under any circumstances. Bishop's something or other. Grrr.


    My personal nemesis is ground ivy. It is more invasive around here than....anything I can think of. It climbs walls, it reaches out to fill any bare spot of soil with tentacles reminiscent of Audry II.

    However, I love False Indigo. It happens to bloom at the same time as Peonies (another favorite) and looks amazing in a vase with them.

    I also love Bleeding Heart....and mint. I know I'm nuts...but aren't all gardeners?


    Bindweed. We have bindweed here, and it climbs up and smothers everything. It's another one of those with seeds AND runners. And false chrysanthemum--another runner one. I sprayed it with Round-Up (my new best friend!) and it's still there.


    Wow! This post had me laughing my butt off! I wish you'd warned me how hard it was going to be to dig up the false indigo before I planted it 9 years ago. Sheesh.


    Hahahahahaha...please know I'm not laughing AT you, I'm laughing (or whatever that sound is...) WITH you. My yard is home to every invasive and noxious plant/weed known to man, including the equally unkillable bamboo! Oh, there's creeping charlie and wild oregano and milkweed vine and echinacea and mulberry trees...we even had stink plants once, thanks to a weird neighbor. But the bamboo...we can't get rid of's taking over the house...


    Just two words: crown vetch. Actually, three: $%^&$#@ crown vetch. The indestructible cockroach of the plant world.

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