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Winning the War on Garden Weeds

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Sherri has expertise in landscape design. Some of her hobbies include gardening and cooking.

The pre-war garden: my garden just one year ago.

The pre-war garden: my garden just one year ago.

Eradicating Weeds From My Garden

It’s been weeks since I mounted an offensive campaign in the garden, declaring all-out war on Canada thistle, bindweed, and bugleweed invasion forces. These hoards of nefarious warmongers had slaughtered my iris plantings, climbing rose, and mature thyme shrubs, and were now advancing with cold deliberation into the stalwart peonies, echinacea, liatrus, clematis, and tickseed.

This was no surprise attack. These sneaky marauders had begun to execute a devious war strategy years before when they hoodwinked me into believing that the surface precautions I exercised by spraying them with poison and yanking them out of the ground could put an end to their hostile posturing.

Early Skirmishes

Two years ago, seeing that the Canada thistle advance was getting out of hand, my daughter volunteered to lead an attack with a couple of gallons of a popular weed killer. The stuff was so toxic that the manufacturer recommended removing the dead material while wearing rubber gloves and a face mask. As my daughter was in the front line on this maneuver, I was assigned clean-up detail. Despite my precautions, my arms and ankles itched for days afterward. To add insult to injury, the thistle returned.

Thistle, one enemy: thistle is not even kind to the eye. Look at all those piercing thorns.

Thistle, one enemy: thistle is not even kind to the eye. Look at all those piercing thorns.

Bindweed, another enemy: a pleasant flower, but a killing weed.

Bindweed, another enemy: a pleasant flower, but a killing weed.

Then last year, ironically, a dear Canadian friend volunteered to hand-dig the Canada thistle. Although she did a great job throughout the garden, her efforts cleared the path for the bindweed and bugleweed to advance.

By the end of last summer, the relentless march of bindweed and bugleweed had taken its toll on those aforementioned slaughtered plants. In addition, the opportunistic remnants of thistle, supposedly having succumbed to chemical warfare one year and brute force another, now brought up the rear with fresh recruits, infiltrating every cubic inch of the garden not occupied by the other two.

Unknown to me, the thistle and bindweed had remained busy underground, sending swift and deep runners out from hidden subterranean base camps, while the bugleweed had woven thick surface mats of fibrous roots concealing their allies' sub-surface treachery throughout my 30-foot by 15-foot prize garden. I’m sure the thistle and bindweed were down there all that time, experimenting, in their secret laboratories, pushing the limits of genetic engineering and anti-toxin development.

Bindweed shoots relentlessly spring up from the underground runners.

Bindweed shoots relentlessly spring up from the underground runners.

An Army of One

Five weeks ago I bit the bullet and went to war, brandishing my eco-friendly weed-fighting weapons—a trowel, kneeling pad, pitchfork, and most important, attitude—yelling this slogan: It’s me or them!

I could have assembled my own allied forces which might have included friends and family or mercenaries in the guise of landscapers and nurserymen, but instead, I chose to enlist only myself. The three of us established rules of engagement, embarked on a short-course boot camp training regimen, mapped out a strategy, and, just at dawn on the first day of our offensive, knelt in the beleaguered garden and prayed for guidance, protection, and a swift end to the war.

Bindweed runners: notice the delicate white hairs that are the budding shoots. These bindweed roots have been out of the ground for two days and are still alive and well.

Bindweed runners: notice the delicate white hairs that are the budding shoots. These bindweed roots have been out of the ground for two days and are still alive and well.

On the Front

As the days of offensive maneuvers progressed, this army of one never succumbed to fatigue, even though knees, back, and thigh muscles screamed in pain. (Thank god for hot showers at the end of a long day.)

Most interesting, this challenge took on a spiritual dimension. The tedium of digging, hacking, and pulling, thereby tossing enemy casualties into black plastic bags, became a thing unto itself. A rhythm. A rightness with life and death. And a measure of discipline.

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Being on the front reminded me of an old war story told to me by my ex-husband about practicing, over and over again, the assembling and disassembling of a weapon, blindfolded. The point being, that at the end, when the weapon was needed, the reflexes conditioned by mind-numbing practice would make the difference between shooting the enemy or shooting yourself in the foot.

The beautifully deceiving bugleweed: beautiful flowers that attract bees, but a nightmare of fibrous, matting, killing roots.

The beautifully deceiving bugleweed: beautiful flowers that attract bees, but a nightmare of fibrous, matting, killing roots.

And so, each day, I chose an area of the garden on an attack grid I’d drawn on paper, stabbed the trowel or pitchfork into the ground, and brought up clods of root-laden soil that I then meticulously picked through in order to remove the thistle and bindweed runners and the heavy masses of matted bugleweed roots.

So many times I wanted to quit, to retreat. My hands became sore, my calf and thigh muscles burned, dirt flew into my eyes, onto my hair, and down my shirt. But after a week or so of advancing through the garden this way in blocks of two to four hours, the work became easier and faster, and the rhythm of my now well-practiced actions became thoughtless and thus both sure and soothing. By this time, I was confident I would not be shooting myself in the foot.

One stalwart, echinacea: echinacea, one of the stalwart survivors.

One stalwart, echinacea: echinacea, one of the stalwart survivors.

Civilian Casualties

Soon, I had to face the stark reality that there would be civilian casualties as the result of my efforts, but I did not know the losses would be so severe. As I dug and sifted, I saw that the enemy had penetrated the very fiber of even the stalwarts. Hostile roots and runners had invaded the root systems of civilians and were literally strangling them. In the end, Me, Myself, and I sent the dead to body bags and the living to triage. Some would make it; some would not.

I moved the ones to be saved into temporary quarters—plastic pots or a spare area of an adjoining garden—nursed them along with water and shade and appropriate pruning, and relinquished their fate to a stronger hand than mine. Even though I declared myself an army of one, at this point I would have jumped for joy had the nursing staff of M.A.S.H., under the leadership of Hotlips Hoolihan, run up my hill with emergency kits at the ready.

The Garden During War

Perhaps in a year or two or three, the garden will return to its pre-war glory.

Perhaps in a year or two or three, the garden will return to its pre-war glory.

The Long Siege

Unfortunately, this was no five-week campaign with a clear victory at the end. Although I may have completely eradicated the bugleweed, I have just begun the long siege with thistle and bindweed. Already, after only five weeks, I see fresh sprouts of villainous weeds popping up in the first grid areas I attacked. I am feeling that this war may be my personal Forth Rail Bridge; just as I finish a major sweep, it will be time to go back to the beginning and start over. I have great hope that the sweeps will be, each time, shorter in duration.

There is comfort, although not too much, in knowing that history is on my side, and I will prevail…eventually. Organic home gardeners have waged wars with exactly the same beasts and have come up victorious, even though it may have taken as many as ten years to declare the war done and over. And so, for this season and the next, and perhaps the next after that, the stalwarts will have to bide their time until they can be returned to their homeland by my well-honed, disciplined perseverance.

Victory in the garden! It’s me or them!

Thistle and Bugleweed Facts for Planning and Implementing Attack Strategies

  • Underground thistle and bindweed runners can penetrate to a depth of eight feet or more.
  • Digging deeply to extricate the runners leaves bits and pieces of them in the earth, any and all of which are likely to produce new plants and subsequent underground runners.
  • Cursory yanking at visible top growth sends a signal to the runners to produce more top growth.
  • As for all plants that depend on light, having their leaves stripped diligently from their stems will eventually starve them to death, in a decade perhaps.

Other Weapons in the War Against Weeds

Although hand combat is the method of engagement I've chosen for eradicating bindweed, bugleweed, and Canada thistle, other weapons in the war against weeds may be worth trying, among them common household products. Or, if you know your weeds are edible, you can achieve great culinary satisfaction by turning your enemies into a bowl of weed soup.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.


Sherri (author) from Southeastern Pennsylvania on February 27, 2013:

Thanks, Will, for your awesome comment. It's nice to know I have company, although I certainly don't wish this war on anyone!

Will O'Malley on February 21, 2013:

Hi, know how you feel. I've just taken on an allotment and it's about 50% fantastic quality soil and 50% bindweed roots :( Totally love the war analogy, though it's definitely a war of attrition rather than a swift blitzkrieg .

Keep fighting the good fight!

Sherri (author) from Southeastern Pennsylvania on October 03, 2012:

AudreyHowitt, can't believe I didn't see your welcomed comment until now. I'm so glad you enjoyed the humor. Gotta have it, or I'll go nuts!

Sherri (author) from Southeastern Pennsylvania on October 03, 2012:

sgbrown, thanks so much for your lovely comment. You and I share this experience!

No doubt, mulch solves a lot of problems, and it's a vital part of garden health and maintenance. But I think you've been more vigilant than I in getting rid of weed sprouts as they appear. Unfortunately, I let too many things run amuck over time.

Composted leaf mulch is a godsend. Some communities have leaf composting programs where they collect the leaves, compost them, and then offer the leaf compost to residents. Unfortunately, I don't have that program here. Instead, I rely on purchased licorice root mulch which has many of the properties of composted leaf mulch.

Onward and upward in the garden! I need to be more vigilant, earlier. :)

Sheila Brown from Southern Oklahoma on October 03, 2012:

Such a wonderfully written hub! I love the way you injected your humor into this hub. I had been fighting weeds for years. This year I had very few invasive plants in my flower or vegetable garden. I do pull what I see while the ground is wet. However, I found that using mulched leaves has done wonders! After my plants broke ground good, I added at leat 1 - 2 inches of mulched leaves. They seem to stay in place and don't wash away like many other types of mulch.

Wonderful hub! Voting up and more!

Audrey Howitt from California on May 25, 2012:

I have to chuckle at your humor! Coffee, verve and lottery winnings all help!

Sherri (author) from Southeastern Pennsylvania on May 25, 2012:

Rain is the enemy in weed control, because it promotes weed growth, but it's also the friend in weed removal, because it makes it easier to get weeds out at their roots. Go for it!

At the same time, I get scared too, and sometimes want to hide under blankets with coffee or scotch. The damage can be so intimidating. One day at a time, one step at a time. When it gets too overwhelming, I buy lottery tickets and hope I win the big one, so I can hire landscapers to fix this. lol

Thanks for your awesome contribution here.

Audrey Howitt from California on May 25, 2012:

Black berries!! And you wouldn't believe how fast Ivy grows back--it is disheartening! But I am out there everyday when it is not raining--and I am scared to see how much damage has been caused--

Sherri (author) from Southeastern Pennsylvania on May 25, 2012:

Audrey, oh no, ivy! If I may offer encouragement, with extensive chopping and pulling, ivy may be eradicated in two years instead of 10. The biggest problem is the destruction ivy leaves in its wake, like deteriorating the mortar that binds stone or brick and the damage done to wood and siding by its incredible, sucking, clinging, pervasive root buds from every stem. What a survivor!

As for berries, are you talking about raspberries and other similar berry bushes? Oh my, they migrate like the dickens.

Best of luck you you, and if you want to share war stories, please do!

Sherri (author) from Southeastern Pennsylvania on May 25, 2012:

Daisy, bugle weed is beautiful when it sends up its blue flowers in the spring. The good news is that there are cultivated relatives that display magnificent spring spikes and don't invade the way bugle weed does.

Thanks for the lovely comment and the sharing. :)

Audrey Howitt from California on May 25, 2012:

You give me hope! I am on my way to go do war with ivy and berries!!!

Daisy Mariposa from Orange County (Southern California) on May 25, 2012:


This was a fun...and funny...article. Buglewood really does look deceptive. It has the appearance of a gentle, little wildflower.

I'm sharing this with my followers. I know they'll enjoy reading it as much as I did.

Sherri (author) from Southeastern Pennsylvania on May 25, 2012:

Sorry to say, Sunshine, I'm still at it! My ten-year estimate just might be pointing to a victory celebration in 2020. LOL. Thanks for your awesome comment. :)

Linda Bilyeu from Orlando, FL on May 25, 2012:

LOL! Absolutely hysterical. What a creative mind you have...those weeds don't stand a chance against a woman on a mission such as yourself!:)

Sherri (author) from Southeastern Pennsylvania on January 02, 2011:

Hmmm...devouring the enemy. I can see how that is satisfying. I just read your Hub, How To Make Weed Soup. What a fitting--and beautiful--end to the marauders! I linked to it above, under "Other Weapons in the War against Weeds."

Les Trois Chenes from Videix, Limousin, South West France on January 02, 2011:

What a wonderfully funny but useful hub. I have bind weed, thistles and all sorts to contend with, but have found that eating them in salads and soups give me a whole lot of satisfaction.

Sherri (author) from Southeastern Pennsylvania on December 06, 2010:

Thanks for the good words, C.J. Glad you enjoyed!

C.J. Wright on December 06, 2010:

Great article. Your a great story teller!

Sherri (author) from Southeastern Pennsylvania on September 07, 2010:

Marisue, there's a wonderful Hub written a few months ago by Winsome that I think you will find quite apropos to your thoughts:

As always, thank you so much for your insightful and supportive comments. Again I say, "Sooo glad you are back!"

marisuewrites from USA on September 05, 2010:

There is much to learn if we read between the lines here...I am proud of your energy and determination. I have many weeds I've allowed to grow in my "life garden" so I might model my "war" after yours...and I dread the sores which will come. But I shall survive!!! and I think you'll win this battle. Great description, I was right there pulling those boogers out, too!

Sherri (author) from Southeastern Pennsylvania on June 21, 2010:

Peggy, I'm so glad you understand. We battle-weary warriors need that shower at the end of the day!

Thank you for your wish for success. I am happy to report at this date, although the weeds are by no means gone, that there has been enormous progress and the front is advancing without too much resistance. There are the occasional guerrillas (as you so well know from those bulbs that are so difficult to eradicate), and so I am still not planting much of anything until I've better secured what I can secure.

So glad you found this funny. Makes all the pain worth it!

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on June 21, 2010:

This was so much fun to read and while I especially applaud your literary efforts in describing your battle with the oh-so-determined and tough weeds...I wish for you success in the end. That first picture was gorgeous!

I constantly do battle in our yard with the weeds. Many simply have to be dug because they have bulbs under the ground and if even one is missed they keep spreading. I can relate to the aching back and refreshing shower after a day of battle.

Rating this funny!

Sherri (author) from Southeastern Pennsylvania on May 19, 2010:

Chris, what no one ever told us gardeners of modest means is that a rock garden exists only in proportion to the money spent on skilled gardeners who know how to maintain it. A rock garden is never for the homeowner who has a job other than maintaining the garden of the personal estate. My woes join yours.

Glad you enjoyed the read.

Christoph Reilly from St. Louis on May 19, 2010:

Hi Sally! OOoo, I hate weeds. When I moved in here, the front of the house featured a rock garden, and of course, this was no detriment to the pesky weeds. I pulled. I poisoned. Eventually, I planted English Ivy, believing ivy would choke out the light and prohibit these nasties from thriving. Ha, ha. Right now, it looks more like a weed garden. I gave up the fight long ago. I just go out a couple of times a year and pull out what I can (after a rainfall is best), or else just lop them off. Then It looks nice for a bit.

Nice post.


Sherri (author) from Southeastern Pennsylvania on May 17, 2010:

Thanks for the reminder, rmr...the dog option creates a lot of destruction.

You brought back a nice memory of my long-gone indoor/outdoor female cat, consummate hunter, who every spring brought baby bunnies to the back door, just as you say, for praise and treats. So now we add cats to the anti vole/mole arsenal.

rmr from Livonia, MI on May 17, 2010:

Funny you should mention dogs. We once had a mole problem, and a very industrious cat. He waited patiently for a mole to pop its head out, then quickly snatched it up and brought it to the door. We gave him praise and treats for killing the moles, and our German shepherd got pretty jealous. He started bringing us moles, too, but he wasn't the patient type. Instead of waiting for them, he decided to go in after them. Our yard soon looked like a minefield, but it was absolutely free of moles lol!

Sherri (author) from Southeastern Pennsylvania on May 17, 2010:

Moles and voles, too...nasty, ugly little destructive buggers! I think you can see I have a strong opinion here.

I've had both in my garden from time to time and I am now working on getting rid of a current vole population.

Two non-chemical methods that I know work are: dogs and castor oil.

If you have a couple of dogs that can be let loose in your garden, chances are your problem will be short-lived. I'm not able to practice this kind of varmint control because I don't have a fenced-in yard. But I know this to be effective from friends who live in the country. This method, as you can infer, kills the things.

There are a bunch of castor oil repellent recipes (and they are effective) on the Web, but they are too much work. All you need is a bottle of castor oil and a bag of dog hair. Make balls of the dog hair, dip a ball in castor oil, and shove one or two of these sodden things down every hole you can find. Every few days, go out and look for new holes and repeat the process. After a few weeks, the creatures will be gone off to someone else's garden. This method does not kill them, it simply relocates them, and it does no damage to plants, people, or animals. Give it a try and let us know!

As for a lithe and limber weed killing machine, thank you so much for the pleasant thought. My mother asked me just the other day if this now almost 8-week massacre had caused me to lose any weight. Sadly, no. What it has caused are chronically aching knees and wrists and all sorts of itchy places on my ankles!

Thanks so much for your awesome comment.

rmr from Livonia, MI on May 17, 2010:

Delightful, as always! It seems you have transformed yourself into a lithe and limber weed killing machine!

I wish I had time do do battle with weeds, but there is a far more insidious invader at work in my neighborhood right now. Have you prepared a battle plan for moles?

Sherri (author) from Southeastern Pennsylvania on May 17, 2010:

You are right, Maita, gardening can be a quite fulfilling activity, even if you are doing it in containers on a porch, patio, or indoors. Here's a little bright spot for you: no lawn, no mowing! Hope you have a garden again one day. I'll bet you won't let it get out of hand as I did mine. Thank you for the comment and the good words.

prettydarkhorse from US on May 16, 2010:

This is so nice of you, to share gardening with us, hmm, I dont have a lawn here in Dallas and I miss the times I could do gardening as well, It is a fulfilling activity, beautiul images and this hub is beautiful, Maita

Sherri (author) from Southeastern Pennsylvania on May 15, 2010:

You know what Robie, if you have enough bindweed, thistle, and bugleweed, you don't have slugs. Slugs hate that stuff! And I'm glad of it, because slugs to me are the slime from hell. So at least I don't have to deal with them.

I hear what you are saying about a truce. As long as the plants you want to grow are not threatened by the weeds, well, live and let live, as you say. For example, that bugleweed right now is in full bloom and absolutely beautiful. If I allowed some of it to live and controlled it, it would be a glorious asset. So would the self-naturalizing violet (another horrible invader).

Sounds to me as though you keep up with things in your garden, so that the invaders don't kill the rest, and this is the right thing. But after a couple of years of not keeping up, I found my garden had turned into a monstrous killing field.

So glad you enjoyed the fun. I gotta keep a sense of humor about this!

Roberta Kyle from Central New Jersey on May 14, 2010:

Ahhh ST, I too have battled weeds and roots and even garden slugs, but unlike you I have not routed them, but instead have reached an uneasy truce. It's very much live and let live in what passes for my garden :-) But I salute you and I loved this hub-- full of fun and creativity as usual with you. Glad I stopped by.

Sherri (author) from Southeastern Pennsylvania on May 14, 2010:

Thanks, Dolores for the congrats. Is that what it is, tenacity? I think it is insanity. But I've learned a lot about these root systems and how devastating they can become in such a short amount of time. I'll never let this happen again. Thanks, too, for the good words.

Dolores Monet from East Coast, United States on May 14, 2010:

Sally, thumbs up and awesome. I did not realize that the thistle and other weeds had such deep root systems. I go out and just yank. Of course, they keep coming back. Congratulations on your tenacity.

Sherri (author) from Southeastern Pennsylvania on May 13, 2010:

LOL Michelle. I must say there isn't that much money I need or anyone I love enough to do this again. I'll accept your invitation, but only if we all sit outside with some good food and drink and watch the weeds do their own thing. I'm so glad you enjoyed this Hub. ~Sherri

Michelle Simtoco from Cebu, Philippines on May 13, 2010:

Sally, your writing is such a delight and it makes me smile as you wage war in your garden. LOL I'm inviting you over to our garden and you can wage war here too. Hahahahah

Sherri (author) from Southeastern Pennsylvania on May 12, 2010:

I was surprised by the bugleweed as well, BK. It doesn't have the long and deep runners of the other two, but it has a root mass that penetrates through three and four inches of the surface soil. Indeed, many varieties of bugleweed / ajuga are available specifically for controlling surface erosion. When it likes its environment, there's no stopping it!

Your poor friend! That kind of surface yanking simply encourages the buggers to grow stronger, unless it is followed up by religious mowing or cutting to make sure the plants never have enough leaves to feed the voracious roots and also to prevent the plants from setting seed.

Hey, come on over anytime and lend a hand! I'll be at this all season and probably into next summer. Bring some mamajuana...who knows, it might be just the right tonic for super-powering weed-pulling muscles! If not that, then we can down a few shots and take the day off. :)

BkCreative from Brooklyn, New York City on May 12, 2010:

Now I am intrigued totally by the bugleweed. Why such deep roots - what's that all about. It sounds like a plant that will keep the soil from being washed away.

I would love to do what you are doing and of course we have to know what we are doing to win - like, as you mentioned, getting out the roots. I had a friend who recruited her children - and even her mom came to help and they spent a day chopping through all the wild growth. I asked her if she pulled the roots or at least turned the soil. She said "what?" Needless to say her whole back yard had 10x the growth as before she got started. It was pretty hilarious!

Enjoy your lovely garden!

Sherri (author) from Southeastern Pennsylvania on May 12, 2010:

Thanks for reading and commenting, Kim.

kims3003 on May 12, 2010:

Wonderful article! =D

Sherri (author) from Southeastern Pennsylvania on May 11, 2010:

Well, Annemaeve, I'm so glad this Hub is just the way you like 'em! You know, you have one job to help me with that will pull all of this together for the season: Let's get that umbrella up there on the patio! Love YOU.

annemaeve from Philly Burbs on May 11, 2010:

Fun and informative, just the way I like 'em! I'm so proud of you for suiting up and reclaiming your garden from the invading hoardes.

Love you, love your hubs... and love your garden!

Sherri (author) from Southeastern Pennsylvania on May 11, 2010:

Richard, so glad you enjoyed it. Thanks so much for reading and commenting.

Richard Armen on May 11, 2010:

This is a fun hub to read!

Sherri (author) from Southeastern Pennsylvania on May 10, 2010:

Mike, thanks for adding your insights here about guerrilla warfare. I hadn't thought about it quite that way, but since reading your comment and then working a bit more in the garden today, I find the opposition is indeed hiding among the indigenous population. In the thick forest of peony stems I found several new thistle and bindweed shoots, so intertwined with the peonies that there is no way to dig out their roots. This new opposition crop will get their leaves stripped!

Thank you for the conversations we've had over the last few weeks and for sending me "Bloodstained Sea" and "Choke Points." I think you can surmise that much of what you shared with me has been quite inspiring.

Sherri (author) from Southeastern Pennsylvania on May 10, 2010:

Oh, Linda, if I had a husband I hope I would be as smart as you. Dandelions are pretty!!!!! That is SO perfect. And thanks so much for the good words.

Sherri (author) from Southeastern Pennsylvania on May 10, 2010:

Trish, my mother gave me Stephanie, the "Coat-of-Many-Colors" climbing rose, several years ago for a Mother's Day gift. You can see it climbing the trellis outside my back porch in the "pre-war" photo above. I won't be naming any more plants...I think I might have jinxed the rose. :(

Mike Walling on May 10, 2010:

This is a terrific piece of writing and I enjoyed it immensely. From what happened in your garden I fully understand that it's all out war albeit a guerrilla war on the part of the invading plants. Like most guerrilla warfare the opposition has been at it longer and can hide among the indigenous population when necessary. As you so accurately summed it up, this war could take years win.

trish1048 on May 10, 2010:

Stephanie? you named a plant Stephanie? You never told me, boo hoo :(

Psst! is there one named after me? perhaps, doom 'n gloom? :)

Sherri (author) from Southeastern Pennsylvania on May 10, 2010:

Where's my Knight in Shining Armor when he's needed, darn it! Why do I always have to be the one with the hoe? Thanks for the chuckle, Shalini. And the cheering on!

Shalini Kagal from India on May 10, 2010:

What a delightful account of a lady and her hoe against the forces of evil plant life! Go, Sally's Trove, go! :)

Sherri (author) from Southeastern Pennsylvania on May 09, 2010:

D.A.L., you are so right. Just me against the world in the garden, and sometimes in other places at other times as well. Much food for thought. Thank you for your insightful comment.

Sherri (author) from Southeastern Pennsylvania on May 09, 2010:

Flying Panther, I will never forget the look on your face and the posture of your body as you commanded the offensive last year. Pure grit and determination! You are the best. Hey... Canadian farmers don't like that da**ed thistle either!

Sherri (author) from Southeastern Pennsylvania on May 09, 2010:

Trish, you bring back so many wonderful memories. That Glenside garden was something else, wasn't it? And I love the stories you've written and told me about your grandparents' garden; for some reason, I don't remember that garden, although I know I visited your grandparents' house with you. That was a LONG time ago! Thank you my friend, for always joining the today's of our lives with the yesterdays.

Feline, I am so sorry to tell you that Stephanie is most likely gone. Since I took that last photo (The Garden During War), I've cut her stems almost to the roots, hoping for a miracle. But by this time in the year, she should have been sprouting leaves and getting ready to bloom in about three weeks. I'll nurture her remaining stems for a bit longer, but I fear the dastardly bindweed and thistle roots damaged hers permanently. Please, keep rooting for me! :) (I have not yet told my mother of the demise of her namesake.)

Sabu, this has been wonderful emotional and physical therapy. I have never let a garden get out of control like I did this one, and I never will again. That "never again" decision was born from these efforts. And, as you can imagine, I am applying what's been learned here to other aspects of my life. Thank you so much for your thoughtfulness, always.

Sherri (author) from Southeastern Pennsylvania on May 09, 2010:

Nellieanna, thank you so much for such an affirming review. As for will and determination, this exercise in the garden taught me many lessons about patience and fortitude, there and then, and going forward as well. Truly, the hard part starts now, when I am not driven to rid the garden of the hoards of invaders (because the hoards are gone), but when I must exercise daily diligence in nipping the reserve forces in the bud, or buds, so to speak. It will be too easy to say to myself, well, I'll get to it tomorrow. This is not the time to rest on one's laurels! LOL!

Dave from Lancashire north west England on May 09, 2010:

Sally loved your war analagy to this well written and amusing hub {at least to the reader} Gardening can indeed be like a war. At times just you against the world.

FlyingPanther from here today gone tomorrow!! on May 09, 2010:

Dear Sally. Yes this Canadian friend did try to help you out with this war but just so you know us Canadian dont go down without a fight!! LOL.great hub as always and thank you for sharing.I have to tell you reading all this made me smile even if its not all that funny im sorry!.

Love always.


sabu singh on May 09, 2010:

As delightful as always, ST. Phenomenal writing skill exhibited. I am sure there must have been something therapeutic in this epic struggle as well.

Sherri (author) from Southeastern Pennsylvania on May 09, 2010:

Darlene, so glad you got a chuckle, and even gladder you called me "poor soul". I'm kind of feeling just that way. *sigh* :)

Hello, hello, your comment cracked me up. You've got to be kidding! I ain't never doin' this again. ;0

Elena, I'd love to hear you speak about your weeds. I think you'd be an inspiration for me to tell the world what I REALLY feel about these **stards. I can be such a wimp. ;)

Feline Prophet on May 09, 2010:

They got Stephanie?!!! The villains!!!

Delightfully written though this hub is, I'm sure the reality hasn't been much fun. I'm rooting (ouch - bad pun) for you, ST. Perseverance pays. You will triumph eventually, and all the aches and pains will have been worth it.

And Stephanie - tell me there's hope!

trish1048 on May 09, 2010:

My dearest friend,

I know so well your love of gardening. You've always done a beautiful job. I, as you know, am not a gardener, never was and never will be. But I do so love a garden, guess I'm just too lazy :)

I recall with great fondness your herb and vegetable gardens. I always loved visiting you, because I could smell the wonderful herbs and admire the fact that you had these wonderful things readily available for your amazing cooking.

Of course, it also goes without saying that this also brings to mind my grandparents' gardens, which I so loved as a child.

So, my dear friend, I will continue to live vicariously and envying your skill and devotion to nature's bounties.

Thumbs up!

Nellieanna Hay from TEXAS on May 09, 2010:

I'm sure I've never before (and probably will never again) read a more delightfully entertaining, as well as informative, gardening article! I voted it up before I even got to writing a comment. I wish I had half the will and determination! I admire yours!! Thanks for giving me a lot to think about. (Runners as much as 8' deep - shudder!)

Elena. from Madrid on May 09, 2010:

"Eco-friendly weed-fighting weapons" ... You're so cute, Sally :) The whole war on these deceivingly pretty plants is very cute, the way you tell it, a real adventure!

I'm afraid I wouldn't be half as kind as you were if I spoke of my weeds, but I'm sure we share the sentiment: It's me or them! Laugh!

Hello, hello, from London, UK on May 09, 2010:

Thank you for a wonderful hub. Now you have finished, can you come over to mine?

Darlene Sabella from Hello, my name is Toast and Jam, I live in the forest with my dog named Sam ... on May 08, 2010:

I could just see you out there working and digger, you poor soul, however the way you tell as story it was funny, we all need some levity while waging war. The first picture is breathtaking and a wonderful this is...thumbs up

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