Cleanup: clip, snip, spray

Since I tackled the patio a bit the other day, I should really work on the bed that's next to the patio, as I look at it all the time.


A couple of grasses mainly, some perennials, a few herbs. I really consider this to be two or three planting beds even though they're connected. I'm not going to tackle what's behind the grasses today.



Here's what this area looked like in the Fall:


It's a Pennisetum alopecuroides and a growing patch of Imperata cylindrica 'Rubra' (aka "Japanese Bloodgrass"). This is an extremely invasive grass in the South, and hopefully it isn't determined to be invasive here in the St. Louis area too, because it's really a beautiful color that doesn't have a replacement (at least that I know of). Loppers for the Pennisetum...


Then the hedge shears for the Bloodgrass...


Once the grass is out of the way, I can see that there is an English thyme that looks to have become a former English thyme. I'll leave the roots intact, but I doubt this one is coming back.


There's also a 'Matrona' sedum (which I love almost as much as the deer do) and a Salvia nemerosa 'East Friesland' that is left over from the initial version of this bed. I buried the salvia years ago, but it pushed its way through. It's not thriving, but I don't have the heart to pull it out.


That's the Salvia at the lower right of the photo.

After all of the Bloodgrass is gone, I can see one of the problems that I've been fighting in this area (and others in my yard) for years: violets.


They get in the grass and you can't see them. Apparently they need no light to grow, and pretty soon there is a nice patch of violets under there that are really difficult to get rid of. Normally I would pull them by hand and stay away from the chemicals, but...

...this year I'm going for the chemicals. I really don't like using herbicides of any type, opting for mechanical (hand pulling) or flame removal of weeds, but these violets are getting out of hand. Plus I don't have the time to spare for 6 hours of hand weeding. So, I'll turn to the chems. Since most other plants are not active yet (like the grasses), I'll use an all-purpose "kill everything growing" type of herbicide. Even then I'll try to spray it only on the leaves of the plants I want to kill and only use enough to wet the leaves, which is usually only one short spray.

I'll also take this time to spray the violets in other planting beds. Some beds have just a few violets, but some have large patches. I won't do anything with the violets in my lawn right now. I haven't decided yet what I'm going to do about the lawn.


They're quite attractive when flowering, but they'll quickly take over and their seeds are apparently small enough to be wind-borne so they'll grow everywhere.

I also pulled a couple of pots out of the garage. The first is a Pennisetum setaceum 'Rubrum' that I just put in there after it went dormant.


I don't know if this will come back, but we'll see. I'm doubtful because I didn't give it any water at all and it was pretty dry. If it does come back I'll put it in the ground, as I know from past experience that it's completely rootbound in that pot. Just needs a chopping and a soaking and hopefully in a couple of weeks I'll see some new growth:


The second is one of my "Elephant Ears" -- Colocasia esculenta. I grew these for the first time last summer and loved them.


They did really well in large pots, and I'll try some in the ground this year too. They don't look like much right now, and I'm not sure if I cut enough of the stems off in the Fall, but they were so nice last year:


Their huge leaves are such a great contrast for the bamboo and other small-leaved plants!

Since I've never stored these over the Winter before, I have at least one rootball that I removed from a pot and stored dry, and I bought a fresh tuber as a backup plan. Plus I have three small plants of a different species that I've been growing indoors, so I should be set with Elephant Ears this year, even if the ones I kept in the pots don't come back.


How long did it take?  about 45 minutes
Total time spent on clean-up so far this year: 13:45 (13 hours 45 minutes)

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