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Signs of Life

February 5, 2013


Six plants of  Helleborus argutifolius are  blooming away in the shady border whilst around them the miniature daffodil Tete a Tete and crocus Tommasinianus are pushing through the soil.


Vinca major is also in flower but I have to say apart from these two plants and  pots of hybrid hellebores near the kitchen door (eight weeks in flower and many new buds to open shortly) there’s very little else to raise the spirits.

But I usually feel disappointed at this time of year and mostly because of the carpet of lesser celandine (Ranunculus ficaria) that has colonised my garden over the last ten years. I think they were introduced in bags of horse manure that I failed to rot down sufficiently and now it seems they are here to stay. Sub-zero temperatures for days on end don’t see them off and they are almost impossible to eradicate by hand weeding. A garden fork lifts them out of the soil but exposes hundreds of small bulbils attached to each root ready to spread further. The only consolation is that they melt away in March and that’s it till next year.


And the low-growing buttercup flowers are very pretty ranging from pale yellow to white. In the wild these lesser celandines look stunning particularly in deciduous birch woods in Spring but here in my small town garden they just look like bad housekeeping.

In a relatively small area I would think it worth eradicating every last remnant of it but in a large area it’s really not possible short of lifting all the top soil to a depth of 20cms and replacing it.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. February 6, 2013 3:25 pm

    I really sympathise. When we first moved here I discovered ground elder in the back garden. I was horrified. Fortunately, I seem to have kept it under control. Bindweed however, coming in from a neighbour’s garden, is a pain and drives me to distraction throughout the summer.

    • February 6, 2013 4:00 pm

      Yes at least no action is necessary with celandines and they do eventually dissolve back into the soil. My irritation is based on vanity as much as anything.

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