When I first came to Australia I went to university in a country town called Bathurst in New South Wales. Bathurst is a pretty town surrounded by rolling hills and golden fields. My new university friends offered to drive me to neighbouring towns, to get to know the area.
When I first saw a blazing purple and green field I was stunned by its beauty ‘‘Isn’t that a pretty field!”
My country friends were horrified, ”oh no, don’t say that, the purple stuff is Patterson’s curse!“
Patterson’s Curse comes from the Mediterranean, some might know it as Salvation Jane, Blueweed, Lady Campbell weed or Riverina Blue Bell. The plant began arriving through mail order catalogues in the 1840s in Australia and was sold as a cut flower in Sydney markets. From gardens it rapidly invaded farms. By the 1900s it was well established as a weed throughout South-eastern Australia.
Patterson’s Curse is toxic to livestock, particularly horses.
Many years later, we don’t have to deal with Patterson’s Curse in our garden, but like all gardeners, we have to deal with our share of unwelcome plants…..Valerium being one of them!
Since Lockdown, we have really had a chance to work on the garden, and, as always, the weeds come first. Some plants, like violets, were welcomed and loved in our garden, at first..
During my years of teaching in the Introductory English Centre in Canberra, our Teacher’s Assistant often brought little bunches of violets into office for us, especially on Monday,….in her words ”Monday is always a very unstable day”…and she was right!, We taught five to seven year old students, who had just arrived in Australia, and there were as many languages spoken as there were children.
Our garden is spread-out, and the violets had tucked themselves behind every nook and cranny. The violet roots are tough and can survive drought. As they so efficiently cover an plant bed, they cover up the soil and prevent precious plants like my Japanese maple from getting enough soil and water.
Paul has spent over a week pulling out violets, and has filled two trash packs with them…. no more violets!
I have long believed the Gardener’s Adage
“The best way to make sure you are removing a weed and not a valuable plant is to pull it out. If it comes out of the ground easily, it is a valuable plant.”
I hope you are enjoying your garden, your neighbourhood, and your season, where ever you are in the world today. During this very unpredictable time in all our lives I have enjoyed reading blogs from all over the world, a reassuring and interesting way to find out about real people are dealing with the CV 19 roller-coaster!
I have started using Block Editor, so I’m just crossing fingers and hope it is all working!
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