April 7, 2006

The Battle Begins

After Matt got home today, I girded my loins and began the battle. Here is The Enemy, also known as the Spanish Bluebell. I am convinced that this plant is Phillip's revenge for the whole Armada incident. (They are a pretty plague in the UK, too.)

They actually *are* pretty, as flowers, but that doesn't make up for their less attractive features. A witchy blonde vixen has nothing on these pests: animals won't eat them. Slugs won't eat them (except in extremis), but they love the hiding places provided by their abundant foliage. They don't care about soil quality, quantity, or moisture level. They will grow in dense shade or boiling sun. They are virtually impossible to kill, even when they are dug up (the link above actually suggests microwaving the bulbs before composting them!) They crowd out most other plants; it's impossible to sprout seedlings near them, and they give slug access to all kinds of other, mature plants (not to mention shading out and choking the roots for same). And, like Tribbles, if they're alive, they're reproducing, by basically every method known to botany for bulbs: seeds, bulblets, and, I swear, photocopying. If you have a place where you want a monoculture, they'd be ideal. But that is not my goal.

While I was busy being a slug last spring, thanks to Emily's occupation of my body, the bluebells saw their opportunity and entrenched their positions: they went to seed. For the last few years, I've at least held them at bay by hacking them off mercilessly before they could spread that way, but alas, they're out in front of me at the moment. It will not be an easy fight, either; today I spent about an hour and a half out there, working at a steady pace, and I cleared perhaps two square yards. There are many, many, many, many square yards to go on our property, and the foul Enemy are blooming already...thus beginning the countdown to the buggers going to seed again.

I'm pretty tuckered from digging, lifting out the bulbs, schlepping them to the temporary compost area, and digging some more. But, if I get nothing else done this spring, I've just gotta do this!

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