Thursday, May 07, 2020

When is a weed not a weed?

Sowthistle , Filey roadside
I've missed the Lily of the Valley season completely . I did plant some on my allotment last year in a damp and partly shaded place , but its not established yet  or seen fit to have just one flower. I'm surprised by this as plants will flower if in distress for lack of water just because they need to produce seed to maintain the species. We in the land that time forgot OKA Filey had no rain during much of March and all of April until its showers started on 30th April .
We are not allowed to use hosepipes on our plots  but may fill all our receptacles, baths and posh containers looking like the  water towers of flat Holderness. 
I digress here for the sake of my family. 
Family anecdote
We Bruces grew up in the east Riding of Yorkshire and would often have an afternoon drive out to Hornsea  our nearest small resort. From the age of 3 , in 1950, I remember the drive well, first in Grandpa Bruces 1930 Alvis , and then  the 1960s  in our family Ford Prefect. I can't remembered what the reward actually was, might have been a penny or might have been a piece of mint rock from the sweet tin , but our father would always call out
'First one to see the Water Tower gets a .............'
Then would come the explanation of why the countryside here needed a water tower, and how they worked. Great Grandpa Bruce had been the Chief Waterworks engineer for Kingston upon Hull so perhaps that story was played out as well . Sister Christine and I worked out why the whole family except our Grandfather emigrated to to the USA in the 1890s as the Stoneferry Waterworks were decommissioned and he would have lost his house and much of his job .

So you see I love nothing more than working out how to irrigate my plot , and cover my baths to satisfy SBC who own the land.
I'm really grateful for the  running water even though I'm as far as possible from the taps and my hosepipes are fixed to the fence of my neighbour  to lead to my plot . The Allotments in the Fulham Palace road don't even have running water. Filling my baths takes an hour as I have 3 and 2 water barrels. I prefer rain in my water butts however as its pure and better for my wildlife ponds (4 washing up bowls sunk into ground).This year I've managed to get tadpoles from 2 friends to mix the gene-pool so to speak . I'm trying to get as many frogs as possible as slug control . The nasty huge continental slugs are beginning to invade Filey . I have to resort to massacre at present .
I'm waiting now for the appearance  of my favourite wild plants ;
  •  Poor Mans Weather glass (Scarlet Pimpernel)
  •  Quaking grass
  • Mullein 
  • Chickweed (for Petes budgies)
  • Hop Trefoil 
and for my worst weeds
  • Horsetail
  • Bindweed 
  • Couch Grass
  • and was going to say Sow Thistle , but read to end of post 
The person on the allotment next to me is pleased with her Peppers, sown in February . She has really looked after them , pinched out the tops and potted them on . I watered for her yesterday in her absence and wondered how I was going to tell her that she was growing Common Orache , though may be eaten like spinach, is in my mind a weed.

I did my Dissertation on WEEDS in 1967. 

I was amused to hear that a friend in Sussex had been during this lockdown  watching a beautiful plant , now in full flower growing in her garden . So she googled it and found it was my enemy Sow Thistle.

What then is a weed, it is a plant growing where you don't want it , simple as that .