Believe it or not, it’s time for another Weedy Weekday. For the uninitiated among you, Weedy Weekday is some weeds on a weekday. This week, I felt the call of the wild, the wanderlust pumping through my veins, so I popped outside onto the patio. After much time crawling around on my hands and knees with a camera, I stepped back into the house; reinvigorated and energised after my expedition. Whilst I was on my travels, I found a surprising variety of flora growing in between the slabs on the patio.
Annual Meadow Grass (Poa annua)
Stepping out of the back door, I immediately encountered a veritable forest in miniature. Showing a little wear and tear from heavy foot-traffic and the ravages of winter, this hardy community has really made itself at home on the patio. Whenever I need to, I can remove it with a clear conscience as it goes to seed so quickly, it practically guarantees it’s long term survival.
Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale)
It wasn’t long before I encountered another long term inhabitant of the patio: the humble Dandelion. There are tiny Dandelion plants a-plenty in the crumbling mortar. I’m afraid I do remove them every once in a while, before they become too much of a nuisance. I seem to remember writing about Dandelions on my old blog at some point in the past, but I can’t find it now. They’re fascinating plants: they produce seeds without fertilisation (apomixis), meaning each seedling is an exact clone of it’s parent (rather than inheriting genes from two parents). Evolutionally speaking it’s a poor move, but it doesn’t seem to be doing the species any harm so far.
Rose Campion (Lychnis coronaria)
I inched along the mighty chasm that separates the paving slabs and came across this friendly fellow. Our next door neighbour grew some Rose Campion one year, and ever since we’ve had the odd plant popping up here and there. I let it grow where there’s room; I’m not sure this one will make the cut but I appreciate it making the effort, all the same.
Procumbent Pearlwort (Sagina procumbens) and friend
Heading further along my path, I encountered a little enclave of Procumbent Pearlwort (the little rosettes of long thin leaves in the photo above), one of the tiniest plants going. It is often dismissed as moss by many gardeners, and unceremoniously removed. In fact there is some moss present in this photo, but I’m not knowledgable enough on the subject to identify it. I like to let Pearlwort colonise the patio to some extent. It doesn’t tend to survive the rough and tumble of life in the borders, and it doesn’t really grow big enough to be a problem on the patio. The mystery seedling (centre of the photo) could possibly be Canadian Fleabane, but it’s too early for me to tell (a keener, more experienced eye might have other ideas).
A mixed scene-scape
(Including Creeping Woodsorrel (Oxalis corniculata), Broad Leaved Willowherb (Epilobium montanum) and another Mystery Seedling
On the right we have that most pernicious of presences: Creeping Woodsorrel. As a seedling, it sends down a fleshy taproot, which acts as an insurance policy should it ever find itself decapitated. Once it has settled in, it sends out creeping shoots which will happily root along their length, should they deem it advantageous. It also camouflages rather well; it’s purple leaves blend in with most environments. Once it has flowered, it has explosive seed pods that send the seeds flying out to pastures new, ready to continue the advance. All in all, it has most things covered. On the left, and slightly behind, is Broad Leaved Willowherb. It’s a little less of a bully than other willow herbs (Rosebay Willowherb comes to mind), but still quite determined in it’s desire to colonise. Just in front is a Mystery Seedling of the same variety featured previously.
That’s all for today’s Weedy Weekday, I hope you enjoyed the adventure. There are oodles of Corydalis coming along, as well as a few Dicentras, so it’ll be back to those next time. If you’re after a few more weeds, I recently came across this rather informative blog (although they are kinder in their descriptions, preferring ‘urban wildflowers’ to ‘weeds’). Toodle-oo!