Saturday, May 18, 2013

Life beyond writing

I'm lining up a post or two about the process of critiquing, but meanwhile, more on that thing called Real Life that has a habit of intruding now and then.

Nothing bad, I hasten to add.

* Pays silent homage to many blogger friends who've been quiet lately because of more serious Real Life events. You know who you are *

No. My diversions are much more prosaic and non-threatening.

Botanical battles

I have declared war on all things that send runners through beds and borders choking the life out of them. I like my plants to know their place, and not attempt world domination. Not on my patch, anyway.

Public Enemy Number 1 - Couch grass

We spent long weekends last summer trying to keep this invasive pest under control in the shingle bed we built a few years ago.

This is our reward.

The problem is the layer of stones and the membrane we put down - ironically, intended to stop weeds - mean we can't easily get at the roots. At least we seem to be winning the battle in the rose bed, which is only covered in loose soil and mulch.

Any wayward bit of green that dares raise its head is simply guiding me down to whatever bit of root I managed to miss last time around. Mwahahahaha...

Note: Those green shoots are gladioli, not couch. So Ali assures me.

Number 2 on the hit list - Lemon balm

At least we think it's some variety of variegated lemon balm.

Although horribly invasive, this is easier to keep under control and more rewarding to remove. Unlike couch, you can spend a few hours removing it and it does not bounce back three days later yelling the botanical equivalent of "Bazinga!"


Although prickly, these are relatively benign in comparison. Having said that, anyone who thinks wooden spears and arrows would be child's play to fend off would think again after tangling with some of these thorns.

Plants are not soft and cuddly.

The saga of the patio table

Taking a break from gardening, we spent last weekend getting the deck ready to use. Power washing done, we unpacked the new patio furniture we'd treated ourselves to this year.

Eight seater table, for entertaining. Metal base, tiled top.


F***ing heavy.

Ali and I half killed ourselves getting it out of its box, let alone across the drive and up the stairs.

But we made it. Got it all set up.

And then it started raining.

Two solid weeks of unbroken sunshine, and within minutes of looking forward to enjoying our deck for the first time the heavens open up. And it's been raining ever since.

This Monday is a public holiday in BC.

Dammit! Monday will be beer and barbecue day, whatever the weather.


  1. LOL; good luck dude :) I envy the deck and furniture.


  2. That's the spirit! Don't let any stupid ol' rain dampen your spirits. Enjoy your BBQ.

    Bazinga. I think I may know of a TV show you enjoy. (ESP, I tell ya!)

  3. Lovely patio set. Over here we are doing battle with dandelions. The hubs goes out and pulls a pailfull and the yard looks lovely. By next morning those yellow heads are back.

  4. Donna, it's looking hopeful. Actually woke up this morning to sunshine and tiny patches of blue in between the clouds...

    Susan, awesome powers of deduction :D

    Delores, we resorted to a couple of seasons of professional weed control 2 or 3 years ago. Big improvement. One or two are starting to reappear but the lawn is at least recognizably lawn.

  5. Hi Ian .. invasive weeds are a pain aren't they - especially the ones that just seem to grow like topsy...

    Your deck with its accroutremental furniture looks stunning - I sure hope you have plenty of sun next weekend .. with some relaxation and all the fun at the fair ... enjoy! Cheers Hilary

  6. I like your garden very much...Ian...and the patio table is to die for...That small plant...lemon balm I'd love to have some for my garden although I'm not sure how it agrees with my climate.

  7. We have the same patio furniture! Love it.

    Thanks for sharing the info on invasive plants. I don't have any of them, but I'm always looking out for stuff like that.

    I read an article about those giant snails in south Florida carrying Meningitis.

  8. Invasive weeds are a never ending battle. Those brambles look nasty!

    I hope you're enjoying your holiday. :)

  9. Hilary, it's just a fact of life that weeds tend to be exactly those that grow like topsy!

    Unikorna, the lemon balm is a nice looking plant, until you find it overpowering everything else. In a bed on its own it's OK, but you need to keep it contained somehow.

    Diane, this kind of furniture seems to be all the rage this year.

    Jean, the brambles just need to be treated with a bit of respect. The day is going well so far, but clouds are gathering and we haven't started cooking yet. We'll see...

  10. Can't wait to read your thoughts on critiquing. I need to get back into that whole scene soon. And, of course, back to writing. All in due time ...

    You know, one of my followers recently asked me about your interesting blogger handle. I'm glad to see a "botanist" post after so long. Spring must definitely be here! :)

    Oh, and that's one great looking patio table!

  11. David, oddly my "Botanist" handle has its roots waaay back in pre-internet days, and has nothing whatever to do with plants. I enjoy gardens, but gardening...not so much, and I'm no plant expert either :)

  12. OMG... Weeds will be the death of me. Well, that or 8 balls and hookers.

    That patio table is gorgeous!! And it really does look heavy.


  13. LOL, Valerie! Patio table successfully christened this weekend, I'm happy to report.


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