Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Aegopodium podagraria 'Variegatum' challenge…

Sounds fancy when I say it that way, doesn’t it? Well what I am talking about is Bishops Weed, looking especially photogenic after being burnt by the sun over the summer, and then having its leaves nipped by cold temperatures. As I’ve said before, I hate it! It should have never been planted in the FULL SUN in the front of our house (I did not plant it) and it is impossible to get rid of. Last spring, after asking lots of folks for advice, I decided I was just going have to buck up and buy some Round-up, I purchased their foam product figuring it would be easier to control possible overspray that way. I started on a small patch, wanting to get the hang of it, and applied, then reapplied, then reapplied. I kid you not I must have applied 5 times over a couple weeks. It would get knocked back but then it just kept coming back! Since I wasn’t so thrilled at the idea of repeated (15? 20?) applications of Round-up, I gave up. So this year I’m issuing myself a little challenge, this is my winter gardening project (people claim you can garden year ‘round here in Portland, right?). I’m going to start digging it up. The ground will be wet, easier to dig (plus that way I can get really muddy too!). I’ll make a mess, but its winter…the garden is always a mess then anyway. Come early spring hopefully I’ll be victorious in my battle with the evil weed! I’ll no doubt need to order a little new (clean) gravel to cover my mess and fill the holes, then at the same time I can also get rid of our silly inherited concrete retaining wall blocks. Most of them aren’t holding back a thing, just making an imaginary divide between the border along the house and the garden beyond. For the areas where a bit of ground does need to be held in place (like along the driveway, as shown above) I hope to do something like this (photo by Kelly Kirkpatrick and found on her blog, Floradora)… Fabulous, no?

I’m not looking forward to this project, but I figure by announcing my intentions here I’ll know you’re all watching, and I’ll have to follow through. And my eventual reward will be shopping for new succulents to plant in the metal tubes; you know I do love plant shopping!

So…do you have a winter garden project?


  1. I used to have a (somewhat irritating) neighbor who would always yell out the same phrase when he found us working in our garden (which was frequently: duh). "When you're done over there, come on over here! I've got work for ya!" We'd laugh and roll our eyes when our heads were turned: must have heard that 100 times. But reading this post and your setting the intention of digging out that bastard weed (you know of my same battle with it), it's all I can hear in my head. "When you're done digging out your Bishops Weed, come on over here!" And now you should roll your eyes. I'm shocked the Round Up didn't work. I've discussed this problem with several fellow master gardeners and as much as we don't recommend dangerous chemicals until last resort, had thought this would be the answer. I'm going to join you in this commitment in the new year, and commit to digging this thug out. It will have to wait until I'm back from Australia though. And now I run away quickly while you can roll your eyes.

  2. You WILL win the war on Bishop's Weed. I did it and so can you! I inherited about 4 large beds of this thug when we bought our house 4 years ago. I didn't know what it was and took it to Portland Nursery for an ID. The guy wouldn't let me take it out of the bag it was so dangerous. It's a shame they sell it anywhere in Portland. To remove it I dug up every bed and sifted through the dirt with my hands to remove every rubbery piece of the hairless-white root. To leave any part of the root in the ground creates a seven-headed hydra. You must remove all the roots and then spend next spring vigilantly checking for sprouts each day. It takes on year of being on top of it to rid your garden of this horrible plant. Your use of Round-up made me cringe :( You must know that stuff is useless!

  3. Goodluck with this Loree! It can be done with patience and persistence. We used to have Bishops weed in parts of our garden but managed to get rid of it eventually, it took a couple of years though.

    Mind you the variegated form is still considered a rarity here and is desirable amongst variegated foliage collectors. I nearly even bought one before...

  4. Good luck with your project, looks like it is going to keep your busy. And love the metal pipes used as support and for planting. I saw a tree trunk today used in the same way, the owner had hollowed out the top of each old branch and planted it up with semps and other alpines.

  5. that darn weed is invading my mediterranean fan palm!!!! I totally sympathize with you Loree. I wish you the best of luck. I might be a bit of a pacifist, but I think that weed justifies some serious garden war.

  6. Just another note of encouragement. I dug up my bed three years ago, weeding it almost everyday the first year and destroying the last bits the next spring, and now I seem to be free and clear! One season of dedication should do the trick!

  7. Ugh...it is hard to believe ANYONE would intentionally plant that...and in full sun...what!?! My dad actually planted some almost 15 years ago in a shady spot near his house...I can only imagine is the hard winters and summers that keep it from spreading! BTW...love those metal pipe planters...too cool!

  8. Good luck with your battle, that plant doesn't look like a garden asset at all.

    Love the idea of the pipes and removing concrete blocks. The moss looks so amazing to me while it must be so common to you. The reverse of your previous post on AZ.

  9. Ecckk! Tis a frustrating task. You can do it! Just have to stay on top of new sprouting shoots come spring, in time it will be eradicated! I've had the same battle with a patch of hypericum, let me tell you some swearing might have been heard.

  10. Good luck in your battle with this pernicious plant! I actually planted this horrible pest in my first garden back in Massachusetts over 20 years ago, and eventually came to regret it. We lost two trees in the front that shaded it, and after that, every summer it would burn just like yours.

    I did finally manage to eradicate it, and I know you can too, if you're thorough with your first digging, and then vigilant with watching for it, and pulling it up.

  11. Ugh.. my invasion of the dreaded BW came from a plant I brought from my mothers. I did manage to rid my garden of it this year. Dug the whole area up. Sieved out every bit off it. then left the area open . Every time a tiny bit tried to emerge, out it came . This went on all year. But this summer , not a sign of BW...phew. Good luck...worth the effort.

  12. My nemesis is vinca...same story: someone thought it was pretty (it is) and that it would cover ground quickly (it does). That gardener's "solution" became my "bugbear". I wonder what I have done that my successor will smack forehead and exclaim "WWTT"?

  13. Viva la revolution ! I have similar feelings about sweet woodruff, but I can't blame the previous tenant.I am the perpetrator in this case.It gets peeled up, like removing old carpet. I wish you well !

  14. It IS possible. I have killed goutweed (aka bishop's weed). But this pernicious plant should be outlawed. Yet I actually saw it for sale in a local garden centre for $10 a pot. $10!!!

  15. LeLo, I've had that same neighbor! I quoted an hourly price for my labor and never heard from him again. I'm glad to hear you'll be joining me, there is strength in numbers. Good luck...and enjoy Australia!

    Lisa, I am no fan of the Round-up...but enough people whose advice I trust recommended it...definitely useless. I am glad to hear that you won your battle, it gives me hope. I only wish I had been smarter and done it when we first moved here, I was in denial I guess.

    Mark and Gaz, perhaps we've found a way to get rich? I've got an unlimited supply and you know of an untapped market...

    Spiky O, yes I do. I took pictures over the weekend so I'd have a record of where it is (once we get a freeze and the leaves die back it will be hard to remember), I swear it's going to take me all winter there is so much.

    Louis, that's what I thought (war) and is why I resorted to the chemicals. I guess instead I should have realized hard work was what it was going to take.

    Remouse, I appreciate the encouragement and glad to hear of your success. I think when I'm feeling defeated I'll come back and read these comments.

    Scott, my mom's got some in Spokane too, in the shade where it belongs. Hers stays where she put it!

    Shirley, actually right now with the beautiful moss on them is the only time I like those blocks, luckily however there is plenty of other moss around for me to enjoy!

    Nat, swearing? Really? (ya I predict I'll be doing the same thing).

    Alison, thank you!

    linda, "left the area open"...that's going to be tough! You know me...I like to plant things in every available spot!

    ricki, I've got some of that too. I eradicated it from the front garden our first summer, it's still winning the battle in the back, under the Privet. WWTT indeed!

    ks, ya...me too. But it seems so much easier to whip into submission!

    Helen, $10? That's incredible!

  16. Brave woman: I applaud your resolve! That, and the fact that you actually plan to do this during the cold and wet of winter is just stellar.

    It reminds me of eradicating the phyllostachys bamboo from our garden. It took 3 seasons of staying carefully on top of it, but finally the root bits were all eliminated and it stopped sprouting.

  17. From Wikipedia: Because goutweed's starch reserves are typically depleted by spring, removal of leaves in spring could be effective in starving the plant.


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