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Little Lovelies

June 17th, 2014

I’m a big proponent of herbal lawns, meaning I don’t like to spray out the wild flowers that provide variety and food for pollinators. Often dandelions, creeping charlie and clover are the herbs that grow, but when you are far enough removed from spraying and chemicals. Here in Maine I have a few patches of Veronica umbras (aka creeping veronica) in the lawn. It’s quite lovely, small and with beautifully blue flowers. It’s a small plant, only growing to about 6 to 8 inches tall and will spread out a couple feet wide.
Veronica umbrasa 1
The flowers are tiny, smaller than a dime and the most lovely shades of blue and light purple.
Veronica umbrasa 2
Veronica umbrasa 3
Veronica umbrasa 4
In one area of the back lawn it has spread into the flowerbed and it’s quite lovely without the competition of the grass. I plan on taking a few starts to plant along the edges of the woods. The leaves durn reddish in the fall so they add even more color at that part of the year. This is another great reason to not add weed killer to your lawn!

What’s your favorite lawn “herb”?

GRR, Dealing With Invasive Ground Covers

November 8th, 2011

The people who built our house weren’t gardeners and tried to cut corners anywhere possible when it came to the garden. As a result, I have had to correct many problems in the garden. From the foundation borders around the house being backfilled with sand (yes, ridiculous I know) to covering the entire back yard with gravel and driving on it all the time compacting the soil. On top of all of these problems I find myself with several invasive ground covers that they planted, most likely because they wanted a “low maintenance garden”.

Since I’m an organic gardener, spraying the ground cover is not an option. I don’t even like to use organic sprays as I think they’re also hard on soil and insect life. As a result, I spent lots of time each gardening season yanking out invasive ground covers and at least trying to keep them under control while slowly eradicating them. In all I have about 700 square feet of invasive ground cover I’ve been working on eradicating.

On the back hillside, which I can see from my kitchen window, I spent a few years smothering it with tarps and leaves. I have almost eradicated the Japanese honeysuckle from that area. This past week I’ve been spending a good portion of my garden time pulling up the remaining vines. I’ll most likely have some to pull up next spring, summer, and fall. With that, it should be gone – WHEW. But then I have to move on to the front hillside which is planted in variegated vinca vine.

It’s been backbreaking work to be sure. Next spring when I see this hillside covered in hundreds of tulips, muscari, snowdrops, and other flowering bulbs I’ll be glad I spent so much time eradicating the ugly ground cover.

Have you ever had invasive species to deal with in your garden? Did you plant them or were they left by a previous gardener?

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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