by AnneWareham on April 25, 2013

Post image for Weeding

I did some hand weeding the other day.

I know. I know. First time since never…. All the better to learn something then.

And I did – see if you agree. It was the creeping buttercup curse. I used to think I would never get on top of this. I have had colour schemes in the garden deliberately designed to allow for buttercup yellow in spring so that I could allow the bloody thing to get the better of me sometimes. But in the end I got the better – by close planting of vigorous perennials, all now well established. If there is much creeping buttercup I no longer notice it.

It has it’s little hideouts, but on the whole it is, I realise, a pest of new gardens. because I have a new garden ( a newish garden at Veddw – I haven’t moved)  and it is there, being a pest. There it was, trying to hide amongst the very similar leaves of Geranium macrorrhizum. Didn’t fool me. So a bit of weeding seemed to have to be.

So what did I learn? First – fingers are no good with that thing – you get very muddy and all to no avail as you pull away at it until – it snaps. OK.

So I went off for the tool shown above. Thought I’d get a grip..

But useless – there is no leverage to be had in soft earth so no way to get any more purchase than I had with my fingers. (However – it’s just the thing for removing paint tin lids). Back to the potting shed. For the Universal Tool

The Breadknife Veddw copyright Anne Wareham

The Universal Tool

There is nothing like a bread knife for sooo many garden jobs. That did it – cut round the root with it and out the bugger came =

Creeping Buttercup at Veddw, copyright Anne Wareham

Got it.


Well, that one, anyway.


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John April 25, 2013 at 7:48 am

At 8.30 am I now really need a stiff drink to calm the nerves and you will need to revise your book for a reprint.

Does “new garden” refer to the area where you grubbed out those box balls? If so, I’d love to see some news/photos of your progress.

AnneWareham April 25, 2013 at 8:23 am

No, the ‘new’ garden is one of those in the Yew Hedges. Not so new, but new enough not to have the really good coverage which reduces weed incursion..Sorry to shock you so early in the morning.

Adam April 25, 2013 at 8:10 am

Great article Anne !

Are you going to market this wonderful ‘Universal ‘ tool on your website. A bit of lar-di-dar marketing b*llsh*t and they’ll be flying out. They can probably be bought at a very keen price from Aldi so there’s lots of room for a juicy profit margin

AnneWareham April 25, 2013 at 8:25 am

There’s a thought…it will need a special, enticing name..’weed executioner’? ‘saw edged weeding thing’?

Charles April 25, 2013 at 8:28 am

So that’s where my bread knife went! Happy Birthday!

AnneWareham April 25, 2013 at 8:29 am


Bethan Green April 25, 2013 at 8:30 am

You don’t do edging really but they are great for that too. I have also found some of our cereal bowls in Jeff’s veg plot (no idea) what use he has found for them.

AnneWareham April 25, 2013 at 9:21 am

There’s fascinating… cereal bowls, garden tools of choice..

Sara April 26, 2013 at 1:09 pm

Aha! Brilliant. We’re lucky not to be fighting buttercups here in the new house but they were the bane of my potager at the last place, pretty as they were. I suppose the other option would be to sow mint and let them battle it out to the death.

AnneWareham April 26, 2013 at 1:14 pm

And a touch of ground elder? I like ground elder…

Paul Steer April 29, 2013 at 12:30 pm

Hand and weeding in the same sentence wow ! Are you feeling ok ?

AnneWareham April 29, 2013 at 12:47 pm

Don’t know what came over me, really…

Vic September 4, 2013 at 8:48 am

I’m not sure a bread knife’s going to cut it (sorry) with our 300 sq m of creeping buttercup at the shaded boggy end of our plot (not new at all). It becomes an urgent issue only when it makes the trip, triffid-like, the 100m up into the raised potager to rob the runner beans etc of nutrients. Strangely we let the borage do this as it’s easy to pull up, I suppose. There seems to be no ground cover competitor (mint prefers sun), suffers from no predators and is just too low for the strimmer. It hems in all the grasses and bamboo. Bugle won’t do for it; Vinca might.

Good luck with the Serrated Strangler; here in Normandy, Lidl’s cheaper than Aldi.

AnneWareham September 4, 2013 at 8:54 am

Borage as ground cover? Interesting… I think these are all lesser issues if you don’t grow veg. The bread knife has come in very useful..but mostly, later in the season, for dividing plants.