Saturday, May 28, 2011

Banishing Burdock

It's been raining for what seems like weeks now.  When the glowing orb so commonly referred to as "the sun" makes its rare appearance, we run for the mowers and attack the lawn.  The window of opportunity is so slight to get this task completed, it takes precedence over most everything else.  We mowed the lawn about a week ago, and with all this rain, it's due to be cut again.

The dandelions have sprung up and are seemingly taking over.  But they look so pretty, and once they've bloomed, they take a back-seat in the garden.  After a while, everything seems to blend together, grass or dandelion, it's all green at the end of the day.  I've stopped wearing my glasses outside, and I have to say, I enjoy the blur that results when I don't wear them.

One of the biggest thorns in my side (pardon the pun), are these wonderful burrs.  Did you know this plant was the inspiration for Velcro?  That, and the word Velcro is a portemanteau, made up from the word velour and crochet (which means "hook" in french)?  And don't you feel like a better, more interesting person with that nugget of information bopping around in your gray matter now?

The burdock plant shown in the first photo is sometimes mistaken for rhubarb plants by the uninformed.  Certainly, the leaves are as large as a rhubarb plant when left to grow unchecked, and easily crowd out most everything around it.  The plant's stalk can grow to a height of 7 or 8 feet in our fertile soil.  I have been fighting this plant for years now, but now we're down to the final battle.  This year - it's them- or me.

Poor Popina.  With her unfortunate long fur, she brings these burrs home with alarming frequency.  Actually, she's more of an ally, considering each burr I pull out of her fur will never see the great out-of-doors again.  I gave up wearing anything with laces years ago; it became prohibitive snagging burrs all the time.  Don't get me going on polar fleece either, because it's a veritable magnet as well.  Some burrs also have microscopic little splinters that dig into your skin.  Just like thorns of a cactus, you can feel them, but you'd need a magnifying glass to properly see them and tweeze them out.

So this is the year I have declared a full-out war.  No burdock plant will go unchallenged.  I might not get each one pulled out by the roots, but I promise to maim, harm and otherwise render useless each and every one of these infernal weeds this year.

Spurred on by the rumour that Canadian Tire intends to phase out their iconic Canadian Tire money, I went to buy Fiskar's Deluxe Weed Remover.  (Did you know the Fiskars company was established in 1649?  That's 362 years ago!)  This particular weeder was 25% off, plus I had a wad of Canadian Tire money burning a hole in my pocket.  This is just the sort of superfluous item I'd love to spend my hard-collected Canadian Tire money on before it expires.  Years from now, as I look over our pristine lawn, I'd like to think back on the day I got a free gardening implement.  Sure, I've got other hand-weeders, but this weeder seemed to talk to me.  I need a work-horse, a Sherman Tank, the missing link that will help me win the war on weeds.

I have to apologize to the long line of people behind me at the cash, but with all due respect, I did pay with actual Canadian Tire money in full dollar denominations.  I didn't have to count out hundreds of 5c and 10c bills (although I was tempted), but just smacked my 40 coupons on the counter and smiled heartily at the cashier as she rolled her eyes.  I bet she's waiting for the day Canadian Tire finally decides to do away with this obscure rewards system in favour of something more modern and easy-to-use.  For some bizarre reason, I was given 10c back in Canadian Tire money, quite ironic since I was trying to get rid of it in the first place.  Even more ironic was the fact I was given a 5$ Canadian Tire gift-card as a bonus.

So, I feel good about my new weeder.  I like the 25-year warranty, the fact it's made in Finland, and it's tough stainless steel claws.  It's nice to have good ammo, and it's even better when its free.

Maybe one day, when it finally stops raining, I can actually get to use it.


Buck said...

Good luck with the Burdock. That is something we fight too. We have a variety of thistles, but Burdock is the worst.

Do you have any Comfrey to deal with? We have some in our city property, and it is such a pain. The tap root goes down feet, and it is so hearty and prolific; it really gets me down.

We will occasionally see it in a decorative planting, and run screaming.

Banish that Burdock!

Shim Farm said... have me laughing, Buck!

Yes, unfortunately, I have comfrey too, but I find if you just break it off about an inch or so down the taproot, it dies off. Previous owners planted tons of jerusalem artichokes, lovage and something that looks like comfrey, but is so sinewy that it literally stops the mower dead in it's tracks. I'd like to ID this plant. Seems knowledge is power, at least when it comes to plant eradication!

I am happy to report I have finally killed all the horseradish though, so I am making progress.

It is unfortunate that previous owners were into a very, ummm, disorganized planting style that cannot be sustained in our short growing season, and invariably, that which is invasive has literally taken over. It has taken me years of work to get this far, but I can see light at the end of the tunnel.

I feel the same way when I see some plants in garden centers that you just know are going to cause some unsuspecting gardeners lots of grief down the line. I'd like to post a warning, LOL!

Thanks for your comments!


Robin said...

We have ivy that I am working on banishing. Uggg.

Shim Farm said...

Uggg is right. I've got some creeping garbage too, some sort of a wild grape. What a PITA. At least most of our invasive stuff takes a break in the winter, 'cause I know the ivy just keeps creeping, and creeping...and your climate.

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