Today had enemies and I shall not hold back; I will name them. Creeping buttercup, dandelion, cow parsley, ground elder and stinging nettle. The last on this list was the most bitter of adversaries. I prefer, insanely, to do most gardening bare handed and even with nettles this is usually fine if you grasp it firmly. As the day, and my back, wore on the occasional glance of my hands against the nettles ensured that they were slowly getting their revenge. When weeding around the base of the gooseberries I gave in to wearing thick gloves. Gooseberries are the fiercest of spiky things. The frequent yelps from my gloves being pierced made me wonder what was the point of wearing them and it made the lovely Sharon stay clear of the gooseberries all day.
Ground elder is a strange weed. It is held in high regard amongst weeds as it is the most difficult to deal with. It is able to spring forth from even the tinniest of bits of broken root. It spreads amazingly and we found it at either end of the cottage and nearly everywhere in-between. Richard Maybe writes in Flora Britannica, that the roots of the ground elder have been found as far as thirty feet under ground. He also wrote, in a different book, that the ground elder seems to stay away from vegetable patches for an unknown reason. I tested this theory today and found it strangely true. For a while I did not believe it as I was weeding the vegetable patch and the lovely Sharon was weeding the ‘pretty’ non edible areas that I am uninterested in. We regrouped after a while to question each other’s wisdom about what we each thought ground elder actually was. She showed me examples and was incredulous as apparently it was everywhere. I bowed to her wisdom as she does teach horticulture and I carried on weeding to confirm the truth; that in all the vegetable patched I weeded I could not find a single specimen. So it seems that even as the most persistent and frustrating of weeds, it still has a gentlemanly sporting attitude.