I was working in the garden this morning, pulling out yet another batch of Tradescantia fluminensis, which is a super-invasive ground cover commonly known as Wandering Jew.
We’ve been in two minds as to whether we want to keep it, or eradicate it.
On the one hand, ground cover is a good thing, because it keeps the soil warm and moist during the hot dry summers, reducing evaporation; it also makes the garden appear to be lusciously green and flourishing. And ever so often, T. fluminensis gets tiny white or blue blossoms, which look quite pretty too.
On the other hand, it forms a dense mat on the ground, smothering any other seedlings you may have planted. It grows incredibly quickly, taking only a week or two to re-establish itself if you clear it from an area. As a result, we’ve lost more seedlings than I can count.
“The succulent stems break easily at the nodes and establish themselves wherever they land on moist soil. While T. fluminensis does respond to herbicides and other applied weed controls, each segment has the ability to regenerate, so it is able to make a rapid comeback, especially in soft soils where stems may remain underneath the surface.” (Wikipedia)
As we feel rather strongly about NOT using herbicides, because we want to encourage a harmonious balance between the insects and the birds in our garden, we’ve tended to rely on intermittent bursts of energy to rip it out manually.
As happened yesterday.
Fortunately, the stems are quite easy to pull out, but it’s the roots and the broken-off segments remaining behind, which are tricky to clear away entirely. I’ve been raking and carefully sieving the soil with my hands, trying to make sure that I remove as much as possible of it.
Unfortunately, the thirsty bees from yesterday returned before I could finish the job. I don’t mind bees – from a safe distance. In fact, I love seeing them pollinate our flowers and knowing that they are hard at work making honey somewhere!
But I don’t particularly like sitting right next to them, pulling out weeds, and making a lot of noise with the rubbish bag, because I don’t want to provoke them – unintentionally of course – into stinging me!
Actually, I think it might be a good time for a cup of tea. Excuse me for a moment, will you? 😀