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Old 22-02-2005, 05:08 PM
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In article , Jim Lesurf [email protected] writes

Alas, I wasn't able to start the process until June-July as I didn't have
the time, etc, pre-retirement. I certainly found that one or two 'bombing
raids' had little effect, so just went on repeating the raids every few
weeks as chances arose. After a while the ground elder started to take the
hint and turn brown, shrivel, etc.

How long did you wait for repeat applications? Glyphosate is a systemic,
which means it has to be absorbed by the plant's leaves, then starts
acting on its growth, so it's about three weeks before you see any
effect - before that, the plants are apparently growing healthily.

It may be that the turning brown etc was all a result of your first
application after all ;-)

I assumed that the resiliance was due to the ground elder having extensive
roots, so requiring a lot of poison to kill.

Waxy leaves meaning inefficient uptake seems to be a main factor in
glyphosate effectiveness, but this doesn't apply to ground elder.

I hope to start a 'new campaign' soon, and then start some digging and
riddling of the areas

Not as bad as it sounds. The roots only go down about a foot, are easy
to recognise once you have your eye in, are not particularly brittle,
and have a pleasant smell.

where I hope to start growing some flowers. My
thought at present is to concentrate on annuals as these (I think) will
give quicker initial results,

Broadly true. Slugs can be a problem with seeds sown in situ.

and I will be less worried later on if they
become damaged by fresh campaigns against the ground elder. Does that make

It gives you a gap in winter when you can do another digging campaign.
But it will be very hard to use glyphosate while the bed is planted, as
its systemic action means that just one leaf sprayed in error can kill
the plant. And come winter the ground elder won't be actively growing,
so the glyphosate won't be effective then.

Yes, you can brush glyphosate on to individual ground elder leaves, but
is that any easier than digging out roots?

| The worst 'snag' has been that raspberries/tayberries (which we like)
| have spread around the garden, and - to my ignorant view - their
| leaves look a lot like the ground elder. I tried to avoid 'collateral
| damage' but I fear this may not have been entirely successful. :-/

Enough will live. They are hard to kill.

Try looking at stems rather than leaves. Whichever way, you'll
eventually get your eye in. Hand weeding has improved my plant
identification no end!

I have noticed. :-) I seem to have 'discouraged' the ground elder a bit,
and helped clear a bit of space to give new plants a chance. But there is
still ground elder around, so I guess this is an ongoing war.

You'll win eventually.

You do know that there is a variegated form of ground elder which is
sold by garden centres as a garden plant? ;-)

I have done the same.

| We already have a fair number of bluebells. (ahem, Scottish ;- ).


Nope. :-) I have planted some English bluebells as bulbs, but the ones I
was thinking of I just called 'Scottish' as they were here before we
arrived and this is Scotland.

If they have bulbs they are not harebells which we in england sometimes
refer to as 'scottish bluebells' ;-)

Beyond that, once they come out I'll have a
careful look and check with a suitable book of pictures.
has an interactive guide for you to check whether you have the english
bluebell or the spanish, which is often sold under the name of

Campanula rotundifolia (English harebell), not Endymion
non-scripta (or whatever it is called now)?

Hyacinthoides non-scripta, according to the Plantlife site.

As yet I'm afraid I haven't got used to any of the latin / scientific /
systematic names. Indeed, I'm still struggling to recognise one plant from
another at all! :-)

The latin/scientific/systematic helps there, as it's based on
relationships and therefore on the similarity of sexual parts, ie the
flowers - once you get to grips with basic flower shapes, you get some
idea of whereabouts a plant might sit, and this makes it much easier to

Whereas english names pay no attention at all to relationships, as in
the bluebell example above!

We have a number of 'miracle' plants that have survived the 20 years since
we moved in. Some of them look lovely, but I am not at all sure *what* they
are - apart from being stubborn. :-)

Worth finding out, since they are clearly the things that enjoy your
conditions, and you may find they have relatives that you like which
would also grow well.

At present I am working on the basis that a lot of what I try will fail due
to my ignorance, etc.

That's a great attitude - trying something and watching the results is a
good way to learn.

Try some for growing indoors, if you have room and the interest.

Alas, we don't really have much room indoors. Nor do we have a greenhouse.

Above said, my wife did point out last night that we have a bay window
which faces east in a room we don't use much.

That's a great situation - good light, without the sun to dry things

I've wondering if that may
be a suitable place in due course for experimenting with starting seeds,
etc, by just leaving them on the window sill in trays, or whatever. The
curtains go across the bay in line with the wall, so making an area the
size of the bay that is semi-enclosed when the curtains are drawn.

That is a problem - when the curtains are drawn, the temperature inside
the 'greenhouse' will be nearer the outside temperature than to the
temperature of the room. So probably not to use yet, but perhaps in
March? And I'd consider starting the seed trays in plastic bags as a
sort of mini-propagator (or look out for clear plastic boxes used as
packaging which could act as lids for the seed tray).

what do people think of this as an approach? Seems like a sort of
'greenhouse' I suppose. :-)

"Do not insult the crocodile until you have crossed the river"