12 messages
23/06/2013 at 01:02

I've just moved to a new house and to my utter horror, the backgarden is overrun with (i) mint; (ii) borage or comfrey (not sure which).  The mint I'm trying to dig little by little (and mercifully is coming out, though we'll see whether new seedlings emerge from my digging).  

However, I'm completely bewildered as to what to do with the borage or comfrey (I'm not sure which it is to be honest).  It is nettle like (and you need to use gloves when dealing with it), the roots are extremely deep and thick, (and I've not remotely got to the roots of the plants when digging) and has blue / purple flowers.  I'm so sorry for the number of questions I have here but here goes:

(1) The borage / comfrey (whatever it is) seems very invasive but with all my digging I cannot get at the root.  What should I do, and will they continue to grow?  I've read some websites encouraging these plants for the bees, but it is taking over the whole garden!  

(2) I've also put some into my compost -- yet I've read that some allotments strictly forbid comfrey into their compost because it will infect the whole lot and come up again.  Should I sift through all my compost (!!!) and get as much of this out?

I've already clipped all the flowering buds to ensure it doesn't self seed any further (which, unfortunately has done so everywhere in the garden).  I suppose I'll simply need to hoe these small plants and hope the plant gets exhausted and dies eventually.

When we moved into this place the previous owners said they planted a 'wild flower garden' - little did I know it was a euphemism for 'letting it run amok' with invasive plants!!!!

23/06/2013 at 01:35

One of the comfreys grows from even the smallest segment of root, and I'm not sure that type even bothers seeding!  I found this snippet amongst lots of doom laden stories about trying to restrain it;  " "If necessary a comfrey bed can be killed with a solution of ammonium sulphamate at 1 lb to 1 gallon of cold water, applied with a rosed can to 100 square feet in spring".  One allotment website claims that the EC have made ammonium sulphamate illegal, but it also claimed that Bordeaux mix had been withdrawn, and that's still for sale on ebay.

I have no idea how long it is you have to leave before planting though, and I expect someone else will have a less drastic idea.

I gave up trying to murder my mint - my local veg shop takes armfuls of the stuff to sell, and gives us avocado pears and asparagus in exchange!

23/06/2013 at 02:17

Yikes that doesn't inspire too much hope!!  I've done some research tonight - I think the plant is green alkanet and from what I read, it is really difficult to dig out the root.  

How do you garden 'alongside' the invasive mint?

23/06/2013 at 08:52

If it has blue flowers and is a bit prickly it's likely to be Borage. Cutting off the buds "should" eventually kill it as it's generally grown as a sefl-seeding annual. 

http://gardening.about.com/od/herbsspecificplants1/p/Borage.htm

Comfrey, makes a great fertilizer. If you cut down the leaves, chop them up, put them in a container (bucket etc.), cover with water, put a couple of bricks on top and leave to ferment - not the best of aromas so be warned 

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/home/article-1048976/Comfrey-compost-The-superfood-plants.html

With management they can both be good plants to keep.

Mint - hmmm .. just keep digging it out 

23/06/2013 at 10:12

Re - How do you garden 'alongside' the invasive mint? (I don't know how to make the quote unquote button work).   It isn't too bad because it's in the veg garden, and all up one end so far.  Any time anybody mentions having lamb, we dig a huge chunk up and hand it to them and as we can't grow avocados and my asparagus bed isn't grown up yet, doing a produce swap is very handy!

23/06/2013 at 10:45

I managed to dig up borage (I notice they are selling it as a salad plant in waitrose) and fingers crossed it hasn't returned. As for the mint, just find a good Mojito recipe. You will find it difficult to kill off completely.

 

23/06/2013 at 10:54

Sara just click on the blue quote window - bottom right corner of the post you want to quote- (it appears when you hold the cursor over the area) then click on the 'quote' marks at right end of the toolbar on your own message window. It'll transfer to the start of your message. You can take out a bit out of it too if you only want to quote a bit of it.

Hope that makes sense! 

23/06/2013 at 10:57

If you have a strimmer, take off all the top growth of the comfrey/borage/whatever and remove and compost it.    Pick as much mint as you can easily preserve either frozen or as dried mint or mint sauce.   You can then apply a solution of glyphosate when new foliage emerges.  This will be taken by the leaves to the roots and will kill them.   You need to wait till the new leaves are a decent size to absorb the product and you may need to apply several times.

Adding a couple of drops of washing up liquid to the solution will help it stick to the foliage and you need to spray it on a dry day with at least 6 hours of no rain and preferably some sun.   It takes about 2 weeks to work but you will then need to be patient and wait for signs of regrowth before you risk digging over the ground as any surviving roots will simply propagate themselves.   Allow yourself the rest of this season to deal thoroughly with the problem and reduce risk of reinvasion that will be a nightmare to remove form any new plants you grow.

Be careful not to let the spray touch any plants you wish to keep and don't let it get in any water features.

23/06/2013 at 11:28
Fairygirl wrote (see)

You can take out a bit out of it too if you only want to quote a bit of it.

Hope that makes sense!   It does, Fairygirl, I just tried it on your post.  I didn't think of looking at my toolbar (doh).  Thank you for the advice.

 

23/06/2013 at 20:21

Thank you so much for your replies and advice!!  Really appreciate the feedback. It's helped me not to completely despair!  I guess it will be a bit of time before I can plant my favourite plants in the bed... they'll just have to live in the pots for awhile .  I also have discovered a blackberry bush (yet another invasive plant).  Should I also try and dig this out?  I like blacberries to eat, but also have heard firsthand stories of it taking over the garden...  

Why oh why do people do this to their garden voluntarily?!

23/06/2013 at 20:24

I'd wait and taste the blckberries PP. some aren't worth keeping. the extend by making long shoots which touch down and root. Don't let them

24/06/2013 at 08:20
PurplePoppy wrote (see)

Why oh why do people do this to their garden voluntarily?!

Unfortunately enthusiasm beats common sense for all of us sometimes   but there are a lot of people who garden without reasearch or reading a book/looking on the web, or even reading the label on the plant! Also people move houses. Your plants sound like at some point there may have been a gardener living there, but after that....? I left a lovely garden which I have heard since has "gone a bit wild".

I have Borage growing in mine. I also have a patch of Nettles - for butterflies and fertiliser - and some Wild Garlic - for insects - but I keep them under control (sort of )

I'm currently fighting with next door's Blackberry 

 

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