Various Degrees Of Weeds

'Dr. Huey' root stock suckers are a weed-byproduct of grafted roses
Weeds have been scarce during our five year drought.  This winter brought rain, and weeds.  

I'm an attentive weeder.  I get them before they go to seed--I get them before they even flower.  Over time, less and less weeds.  

One part of the garden, however, has become rather full of weeds.  I abandoned that part of the garden for several years due to the giant weeds that hung over the property from next door--a towering multi-trunked Eucalyptus and three weed palms.  

I had the three weed palms removed last week, getting permission to do so from the property's owner.  They and the dreadful Eucalyptus adjacent to the property line (removed by the uphill neighbor to improve his view) were litter machines.  They ruined the hedge of 'Marjorie Channon' Pittosporum planted before the Eucs and palms began their looming and littering.  We leave aside the issue of extreme fire danger from these species--the Eucs with their volitile oils, the Palms with their ability to fling burning embers for miles.
Early morning: 
 Early afternoon:

 Early morning
Early afternoon:
Can the 'Marjorie's recover?  Our drought didn't help matters, but the main problem was the Litter and the Looming, which caused the 'Marjories' to Lose foliage and Lean away from the Loomers in search of Light.  I cut them back, and new growth is sprouting, but...oh, they are sad
 Pittosporums can be successful in that part of the garden.  Witness this 'Ivory Sheen', a variegated sport of 'Silver Sheen'.  It was not within the most damaging sphere of influence of the Loomers.
I can't quite get a photo of how pretty 'Ivory Sheen' is.  It's a diaphanous minty-green cloud.  When back lit, the cloud glitters like water.  
Another, different degree of weed are nasturtiums, visible in the above two photos. I let them do their thing because they were temporary prettiness to offset the sad state of the 'Marjorie's.  Nasturtiums come up with winter rain and die back as warm weather arrives.  Another kind of weed, only because they are so rampant, not because of their looks.  

Weeds are something growing where you don't want it.  This spring has also brought rodents, another degree of--weed.  Rat traps in boxes (so the traps don't catch birds) are effective.  It is No Fun, but must be done.  Poison is wrong because it might poison an owl or a hawk.
Then there was the gopher on the east-facing slope.  Such a small animal can make such a big mess.  I got it before it killed any Agaves.  It got one of the Lupines, and disturbed a whole lot of soil.
Then there was the squirrel I ran over on the way to the big box store, but that was pure accident.  The squirrel ran across the road with plenty of time to spare, then ran back under my tires.  There was nothing I could do to avoid it.  Thud.  Right now you are probably thanking me for not having taken a photo of squirrel panini.  You are welcome.  Let's admire a Clematis instead.
There, that's better!
 Worse, though, (worse?) was the big wad of string algae that clogged the pond drain.  I had to lower the water level and get into the pond and deal with it.  If you think trapping rats is No Fun,  get into a koi pond and unclog the drain. 
And I have to get in there again, because the drain cover popped off and it needs to be put back on.  But not yet.  I can't face that, yet. 

Those activities made removing all the Dymondia from this area seem trivial, although the density of the Dymondia made removal similar to removing a rug that has been glued to the floor.  The Dymondia is not the weed in question.  The Dymondia was the victim, thoroughly invaded by Fescue turf grass and the dreaded Oxalis, not pes-caprae but equally dreadful O. corniculata. 
The Dymondia will be replanted from spare uncontaminated patches growing elsewhere in the garden.  Investigation revealed the Fescue invaded from roots surviving underneath the flagstones.  This then demanded moving the flagstones and clearing out the roots.  I shifted the flagstones around to leave the center of the space empty, thinking of placing some different plant there in the center,  but in considering the next photo--perhaps the flat, uniform Dymondia provides visual relief from the clutter of other plants already there?  
Once upon a time, the planting bed was half as wide, and there was a patch of Fescue lawn.  The lawn languished until I pulled it out and planted Dymondia.  Thereupon the Fescue transformed itself from languishing lawn to stubborn weed.  Then it was happy, deliriously happy.  There's a lesson in that, although I don't know what.  


  1. Yay for looming trash trees going away, you must be so relieved. This is it right? The end of that nightmare?

    I don't envy you the Dymondia or pond jobs. I've just finished removing any visible trace of Horsetail from a stock tank planter (once loved the Horsetail, now want that space for ferns) and have yet to tackle the pond clean up. I'm putting that one off until we have a few 70 degree days, to make the water bearable. Hopefully you can move on to more pleasurable garden "work" soon...

    1. Four more trash-palms, and a few branches...and a Schinus. There's a forest next door. But with the Euc and 3 Palms gone, it's already better. I hope whoever buys the place doesn't plant anything nasty right on the property line.

      Horsetail---oh, dear---didn't anyone warn you?

      I'm mixing in the fun stuff. It's not all bad. :)

  2. Thank you for the idea to put the rat traps in boxes. I accidentally caught a broken-footed towhee that frequented my yard and was on our deck just the day before. I haven't put out a trap since. I can't wait to get home and reset all of them!! Have you accidentally caught any lizards? I worry about those little ones too...

    1. No, no lizards, thank goodness! I love lizards. (The bait is a cashew--I don't think lizards eat cashews.) Birds don't go inside dark boxes (apparently). There should be a hole on both sides of the box, and the trap alongside one side of the box between the two holes.


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