Batman has the Joker….gardeners have Bishops Weed/Goutweed. By whatever name you choose to use…. I consider this the reining Queen of Garden Nemesis’. Yes Japanese Knotweed, bamboo and purple loosestrife are certifiable runners up in the contest…but in my book…Bishops Weed wins!
I spent a good part of yesterday on my knees with my cobra tool pulling this unwelcome visitor from one of my dedicated bedding areas. Shame on me. I saw it popping up last year in an open naturalized part shade area on my property and against my gardener’s sixth sense thought… “oh it has some character..let it go….the leaves have some great texture, and the flower Queen Anne-like attracting beneficial insects”. Please give me a good swift kick for my flight of thought!
What was I thinking! This once popular ground cover bedding plant is the only true “no maintenance” plant in my book. It flourishes in part shade/shade…but also pops up in sunny well drained areas. It’s per fuse rhizome root system goes deep and entwines itself in and around your favorite shrubs and perennials, migrating about 3 feet/year. As I said I spent hours yesterday pulling this ugly white root out of a dedicated bedding area….with no guarantee I got very little root sliver. Yes…it can return with the tiniest of root piece.
So what to do now. I missed the window of early season attack. This requires one to mow or cut down the emerging greens to eliminate the photosynthesis, thereby depleting the carbohydrate reserve…before the solar source kicks in for more energy to the root and plant. My tool of choice there is my trusty gas-powered weed trimmer :). But as I am just getting to my personal gardens now…this method has aged out. Good old fashion dig in the dirt weed removal is my only line of defense. And I have found my cobra head weeder (see past blog on this) is by far the best means of hand eradication. No I will not get every little root, but I can use that previous method on the new shoots the remainder of the season.
And while I am not a regular Round-up user…this is one case where I defer to the white jug with the battery powered sprayer. I will use this sparingly on the periphery outside my dedicated areas to keep it at bay.
The plant certainly can have value in naturalizing areas. It definitely keeps unwanted weeds @ bay and gives you a real no maintenance option for an area. I actually let it go amid my hostas and native ferns. BUT, location is everything….it is bordered by an asphalt driveway between my dedicated bedding areas. Emergence in those beds through seed and wildlife introduction requires some due diligence throughout the growing season.
But the reality is…the visitor came accidentally…and as the Eagles
suggest with their Hotel California lyrics: “You can check out any time
you like… but you can never leave”. As always, keeping gardens and practices sensible and sustainable.
Garden Goddess SS wishes all a Happy, Safe 4th of July celebration: #One Proud American