…on bindweed. As a general rule, this pedometer geek has a live-and-let-live policy, that is, within reason. What this pedometer geek calls Creeping Charlie is an exception; that plant has been on my radar to eliminate from our yard since my husband and I first moved to our house ten years ago.
This year, we decided that it was the bindweed that needed to be eradicated, but we wanted to do it without the use of an herbicide.
First, I will back up a bit to the history of our wildflower garden.
After having a decrepit outbuilding removed from the back corner of our property, we decided to plant a wildflower garden there. The first year the seeds we planted produced all sorts of wildflowers. From California poppies to lupine to purple coneflowers, it was a riotous mass of color, but unfortunately, many of the species didn’t return the following year.
The poppies didn’t, but then they weren’t really a native species; however, the lupine and the coneflowers did. We also had some daisies as well as sunflowers, which grew from bird seed (so much for sterile bird seed, but I digress).
Over the years, we had a red twig dogwood in one corner as well as a dwarf peach tree. Even now, we have a few irises and crocuses mixed in, which were inadvertently planted through other yard projects. We have planted milkweed seeds several times, but have yet to see any grow. On the other hand, last year we slacked off and as a result, we had a vine with blooms that resembled morning glories take over the area, blanketing most of the other plants.
We didn’t realize how invasive this plant was until we noticed that none of the lupine grew at all this year. Not only had we lost our lupine, but we also just planted three young serviceberry trees with hopes to entice more cedar waxwings to our yard. We soon discovered that this vine was beginning to encroach on them. Always resourceful, my husband found out what we were dealing with and decided to take care of the problem.
From then on, we have worked diligently to get rid of it. Daily, we grab trowels, head to the wildflower patch, and dig up bindweed, which is also known as wild morning glory. Twice a day, we visit the garden and remove the new sprouts and as much of its roots as possible.
One day this past week, we got serious. He used a shovel and dug deeper, clearing out plants, and sifting through the dirt to get to their roots. Many had barely emerged as we cleared out most of the garden in preparation to plant more lupine seeds and other wildflower seeds that will attract pollinators. Overturning the rocks that edge the garden, we have found roots coiled and shaped like snail shells and long branching roots. All have been placed in the yard waste garbage can, and it is nearly half full of the pesky vines’ roots.
It is now a daily quest to check the garden for the newest plants, and remove them and their roots. It is amazing how quickly these bindweed plants grow overnight and throughout the day. While we think we have taken care of them, there are always more the next morning, but we will win this war. It may take all summer and fall, but we are determined to win.
About the Creeping Charlie, well, that may take me forever. I think I am losing that war.
Happy Independence Day! Have a safe summer, and remember WMSD (wearing mask, social distancing).