Don't be fooled. Inside this thin coating of sweetness is a fiery core of total insanity.

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Tell The Truth Tuesday

It's been a while since I've done one of these posts. I bet you thought I ran out of ugliness to show you.

Hahahahahaha! No chance. Feast your eyes on this mess.

Mess of weeds and shade-loving plants under an oak tree in my front garden

I've been pretty busy trying to catch up with cutting back last winter's dead stuff and pulling two-foot-tall weeds, I just haven't been paying much attention to this weed-choked corner of my front garden. But it needs help. There are actually some choice plants hiding in there.

'Sunset Shades' Primulas and Epimedium x warleyense 'Orange Queen'

Lots more 'Sunset Shades' Primulas, in a nice deep shade of red, that I could probably transplant into the back garden to my Ruby Red Death Bed

This swath of self-sown Primulas in every shade of sunset

A sort of antique rose pink

Yellow, red and orange

Primula kisoana next to Hepatica foliage

I think this is Epimedium fargesii from Windcliff

Nice bristly leaves

Unusual, elegant lilac purple flowers

Primula auricula (I think) with its succulent-like foliage

Sinopodophyllum hexandrum coming up amidst self-sown Primulas

A nice Podophyllum pleianthum that needs to be rescued from being smothered by dandelions

Dicentra 'Valentine' that sowed itself into the path and needs to be saved from trampling

Embothrium coccineum in too much shade that leans over precariously, but will it survive an attempt to transplant it to a better spot?

Fatsia polycarpa, not exactly thriving amongst the weeds and lean soil

It does produce new growth every year, but it looks pretty spindly

Another variegated Fatsia amongst a pile of weeds

I don't know if you can see the tall leader that this Viburnum bodnantense 'Dawn' has produced, but it needs pruning, and maybe more sun and richer soil, because it never flowers

This variegated Hydrangea has never thrived here either, and clashes with the variegated Fatsia

This Corylopsis has pretty new growth, but has a very gangly appearance and has never flowered

Keep it? Move it?

Another Dicentra 'Valentine' competing with an enormous crop of weeds

Magnolia laevifolia blooms and seems to be doing ok, but it is surrounded by a mass of weeds

Diphylleia cymosa amongst the weeds

There's a small clump of the fuzzy Syneilesis (aconitifolia?)

I think this is Trillium kurabayashi, although it's very small, probably because the soil is not rich enough

Oh, what are you called? This plant does well, but that foliage is supposed to turn reddish in the fall and it never does, it just stays green and then turns to mush at first frost

Trillium luteum

Tiny, sickly Podophyllum that was planted at the same time as the big healthy clump shown earlier, but has failed to thrive

In another area is the more smooth stemmed Syneilesis (palmata?)

Astilboides rising out of a cloud of Primulas

A Euphorbia rigida that sowed itself -- the original died and this one is in a much more inconvenient spot

Baby Primulas

Dandelions gone to seed

Dandelions and ragweed at the base of the Magnolia laevifolia

There is supposed to be a path here, but it's really nothing but weeds

This chaotic mess desperately needs help. When will I get to it? Who knows? I know the solution is probably to pull everything out and coddle them in pots for a while while I sort out the weeds and beef up the soil. But this bed needs to get in line behind all the other projects competing for my time and energy.

Do you have an ugly spot in your garden to show us? We all know you have them. I get so fed up with seeing perfect gardens everywhere I look on social media. Tell us the truth about your garden and its problem areas.


  1. I have my share of ugly spots too. Are primulas easy to grow? I've never tried.

    1. I have found some Primulas to be easy and some to be hard. This one called 'Sunset Shades' is a form of Primula veris, the European cowslip, and it grows well and self sows like mad. The Primula that appears for sale everywhere in early spring/late winter in garish colors doesn't do so well in my garden because slugs just devour it, but they leave my other Primulas alone. P. kisoana sowed itself around but I mistook it for a weed at first, and pulled it. I've tried candleabra primroses like P. bulleyana, which is supposed to be long-lived and it didn't come back after its first year. So I guess the answer is it depends what kind of Primula.

  2. Oh my! You're right there are some stunning plants in there, among the weeds, and that's makes it a nearly impossible job to hire out too. If only you could clone yourself...

  3. Now that it's warmed up a bit here, weeds are showing up in force, which was actually something of a surprise - during severe drought, weeds are far fewer! Clover is currently running amok in my front garden. With all the precipitation you've had I can imagine the challenge of keeping up with your weeds. You do have some real beauties in that bed that deserve attention, though.

    1. I belatedly got my act together to tell my own weedy story here:

  4. Commiserate here! Making a native wildflower meadow for pollinators - speaking of work you can't hire out - pulling Johnson grass & pepper grass out by hand. I figure it will take 3 years of steady work before I see only sporadic offspring pop up. Some lovely choice plants in your front garden. I really like that polite, shiny dark green fern in 7th pic down, "Primula kisoana next to Hepatica foliage." It plays so well with the ephemerals. Do you happen to have an ID on that fern?

    1. That cute little fern is Blechnum penna-marina. Like most ferns its old foliage looks pretty crappy first thing in the spring, but then it sprouts new and looks good again.

    2. Oh, thanks, Alison. I'm going to look for this one!

  5. know I would prioritize getting dandelions out before they spread seed. But maybe it's too late for some of them. Good luck. You really do have some great plants in there.

  6. You have some great plants in there! The weeds just grow so fast once they get a toe hold...

  7. Oh Alison - I have some massive dandelions too. And lots of crabgrass - especially in a front bed that I've been thinking about tackling soon. Just thinking, though... no action yet. I swear, one of these days, I too, will Tell-the-Truth...

  8. Go out there and give it some love.

  9. Hey, join the Dandelion Club. When the mood strikes me I go around and dig them out, but it's a pointless task. Cool that you have a Yellow Trillium.

  10. Lots of great plants there. Now's prime picking time for dandelion greens. Dandelion wine?


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