Weeds Revisited

In my spring Southern Ontario garden, the little bulbs have just finished – muscari and grape hyacinth, a few daffodils and hyacinths are finishing up and the tulips are almost ready. This is a time when the perennials are starting to develop. At the same time, the weeds are popping up.

I can’t always remember which ones are weeds this early in the year. I am also a bit of a plant hoarder. I just can’t pull up plants that have seeded somewhere I didn’t plant them and feel good about it. I need to learn to be a more aggressive weeder.

I am not sure exactly what some of these plants are, but if I didn’t plant them in that spot – aren’t they weeds anyway? I took some pictures of my “weeds”, likely because I was procrastinating about weeding, and then I sorted through them online to determine what they could be.

Last year I used Google Lens in my phone, clicked on an image, and then my phone took me to an image of a similar plant in Wikipedia, or Google Images, and I figured out what each plant was. This time around, Lens is missing from my phone, so I added 2 apps from Google Play – PlantNet and Search Google Images. I found each app easy enough to use, but this time around it was less obvious what my plants were! I found images that weren’t like my plants, or too many similar images. Eventually I googled around each suspected plant name and came to a landing.

The question is always – Is it a weed?

Lily of the Valley emerging next to Lamium and Greater Celandine

In some areas, I might consider pulling up Lamium or Dead-Nettle. It provides an easy ground cover with it’s variegated leaves, and the bees seem to like it’s pink, purple of white flowers. I will leave it in this spot for now, but I have had Lamium crowd out other plants in the past – it spreads easily by self-seeding or rooting stems – and overwhelmed some of my Cranesbill in another garden. I will keep an eye on this bossy plant.

Wild Chamomile

This little ferny plant has seeded here and there in my garden. I thought perhaps it was dill, and there were several similar plants that came up in my PlantNet search – but I suspect it’s Wild Chamomile – also called Pineappleweed or Mayweed. It’s pretty, and apparently it can be used in tea or salads, but the flower is fairly small for the plant – so I will declare it a weed and pull it!

Bellis Perennis

My search tells me that these are Daisies, a member of the Aster family. They are similar to my Shasta Daisies, but the flower is much smaller. I will keep a few for now.

Rucbeckia

Since this is such a nice neat planting, I’d say this is my lovely yellow Rudbeckia coming back. I can’t wait ’til it blooms.

Veronica

It doesn’t look very interesting right now, but this Veronica or Speedwell spreads happily and blooms in bright pink all summer long.

Possibly Varianella Locusta

I think that this one is Varianella Locusta. I am not entirely sure though, as I see plants with pretty little white flowers as well. If I have the right plant, it is also called corn salad, nut lettuce, field salad or lamb’s lettuce and as the names indicate can be eaten in a leafy salad. I’m pulling it now!

Periwinkle

Periwinkle or Vinca Minor is a dark glossy leafed creeping vine with a lovely blue flower. Landscapers love to plant it to cover areas which are not lawn or garden as it holds the ground and seems to be low maintenance. I am not fond of it everywhere, as I find that grass and weeds eventually grow up in the middle of mature patches, and then I find weeding it to be annoying. I will be leaving some periwinkle on my sharp sloped areas to hold the ground, but I will happily reduce my plantings of periwinkle. Pulling some up here and there won’t remove it entirely – it comes back vigorously when I trim it.

Perennial Long Blooming Sage

Little seedlings of this plant are emerging all over my front garden, but I can see the leaves are the same as my clump of Perennial Long Blooming Sage. It has freely seeded and I love this plant. When the seedling get a little bit larger I will move them to another spot in the garden.

Star of Bethlehem

This flowering bulb has squishy striped grass-like stems and comes up everywhere. I watched these plants come up last year and didn’t want to move them because I was convinced beautiful flowers would emerge. These flowers took forever and were small in proportion to the long leaves. They are a variety of Star of Bethlehem, but just not as pretty as the small version of this plant that I previously had. This year I am digging all of them up and moving them to a patch along the sidewalk where they won’t take over. They can be considered invasive!

Wild Violets

These Wild Violets have pretty blue flowers and appear everywhere in my garden. At first I left them alone, but I learned that they are a weed and can invade the lawn. I am pulling most of them, but leaving a few patches.

Goutweed

When we first moved in to our new house, the lawn had been completely taken over by Goutweed. It is often used as a groundcover or landscaping plant – typically in it’s green and white variegated form. Unfortunately it often spreads to it’s plain green form and then it takes over. I had read that it is impossible to conquer, but I think we have most of it. It’s long spreading rhizomes sneak out of the garden aggressively. We attacked it by first whippersnipping everything, and then digging large clumps up – following up with pulling up the rhizomes with a hand rake. We then applied earth and seeded the lawn with grass. The grass eventually sprouted and once established – the regular mowing keeps the goutweed from taking hold. It still pops up here and there – and we pull it aggressively.

Canada Fleabane

This looks like Canada Fleabane or Horseweed to me, so I will pull it at will!

Greater Celandine

Greater Celandine has a pretty oak-like leaf and lovely yellow flowers. I thought that it was pretty at first, but after my neighbours hinted that it was a weed, and I realizerd that it was seeding everywhere, I began pulling it all. It has a yellow staining sap when pulled – so wear gloves! It used to be used in medicines, but most of the plant is toxic if enough is consumed.

I’m happy that things are sprouting in my garden finally and that I am able to weed. There is so much to do, which is wonderful. Please let me know if I’ve guessed incorrectly at any of these plant names!

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