Weeding an overgrown flower bed

I have to confess, I’m not much of a flower gardener, and can’t always tell a weed from a flower. And I’ve not yet got big plans for our front garden. I did want to use some blue slate and make it as care free as possible. But Simon vetoed that. So for now we put some alliums in and will just go with how it is.

 

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This is the day after we moved in, my mum looks on at the central flowerbed, and goes to show it was full of weeds even then. Mum thankfully tackled it then, as I was still unpacking everything. Simon cut the hedge and my Dad did the lawn. So it looked respectable. But still in need of a bit more TLC.

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So then we concentrated on the house and made a start on the back garden. And feeling like a game of whack a mole the weeds started to come up again here. So I weeded and they came back, mum visited and weeded some and they still came back. Soon everyday was a fresh crop of dandelions, smiling away. Now I like dandelions, but just not in a flower bed. I don’t want them to spread and annoy my neighbours, and already a lot in mine. Everyday I would run out and behead the poor things, and attempt to pull up leaves and roots if I had time.

The weeds growing amongst the flowers.

The weeds growing amongst the flowers.

Then I found the dandelion weeder. This narrow tool with 2 sharp prongs that tilt up at the end. I’d compare it to the fine brush an artist uses, as not only can you get dandelions out, but also other weeds, and as it’s narrow, it’s less likely to cause damage to other plants. The soil in this bed also seems poor, we’ve loosely dug it over, but most of its in fist sized lumps or bigger. It’s hard to do too much now, as some lovely alliums are growing in it. I decided the best way to help was to do a generous mulch of compost.

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To begin, I held back the leaves of any plants I wanted to keep and used the weeder to carefully pull out the dandelion roots. It worked wonders and in most cases brought out complete roots. A few bits did break off, so I got most of those out by a second pass with the weeder.

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The robin supervised me and made sure that I got the other weeds too. There was plenty of them. I was able to gently weed around most the plants. I then broke the clods of soil.

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I had a nice pile of weeds, at the moment we have so many weeds, that we can’t keep them here. Normally I would drown them before adding them to the compost, which lessons the risk of them growing back, but these will just have to go to the council compost bin.

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Next up I watered the plants, as some of their roots may have been disturbed from weeding around them. The rose is upside down, as it  is slightly gentler on the plants.

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Once I watered, I added a generous amount of compost, from our heap. I added at least an inch of thickness, and tried to even out the lumpy ground as I did it. Using this little plastic shovel, I was able to carefully put it around the plants,

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The bed now looks much healthier. The mulch will discourage more weeds from growing back and will add much needed nutrition to the bed. Any weeds now should be easy to tackle as the soil should be looser, and hopefully there will be fewer of them. The mulch will also help keep the water in for the plants. I will probably top it up in a year or so.

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Just harvested our first radishes from the veg garden, looking forward to some more. Still have a lot of work to do at the back. I’ll write about our mulching technique soon.

 

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