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Latest posts by Panoply

Monster weed

Posted: 23/11/2013 at 16:18

Ginglygangly I think you are spot on! Thank you! I looked it up and found several pictures that are identical to my monster. I had looked up niger plants before when I had another weed that looked similar (but turned out to be a bur marigold) but hadn't considered it for this giant, as it was said to be 30cm tall.

Searching under the name "nyjer" instead says it is 4ft on average but can reach 7ft. I think my monster enjoyed the vegetable patch and outdid itself! I am disappointed it never got to produce seed though, after all the time it had.

Thank you! I am glad to finally have this mystery solved.

Monster weed

Posted: 23/11/2013 at 13:46

I have an update on my monster weed. It reached around 8 or 9 feet and then perished in the frost the other night. I cut its branches off and dug it up the other day, so can show you a picture of its root system - very shallow considering its size.

It had begun to develop flower buds, but these never opened. I did noticed however, that what seemed to be the same plant, growing in a container I used to cause my radishes to bolt, had developed a flower several weeks ago. I am not sure this is the same plant, but it has the same shape to its leaves, albeit in miniature, and the same colour and pattern to the stem - red at the bottom spreading upwards. I had hoped it would set seed, but it too was killed in the frost, and the flower head I rescued has thin beige husks within, which aren't hugely helpful I fear.

To add further confusion to the mystery, another monster weed developed alongside the original, and also on the other side of the house. It seemed alike in every way, except it had very furry leaves - you could really feel the bristles catch on your skin when you touched it. It developed several tiny flower buds on each branch, that were due to be yellow I'm sure, but they also were frosted before opening.

Here are the photos - any ideas what this intruder could be?


No silt or a little silt?

Posted: 21/10/2013 at 18:08

Thank you all for your replies. It's brilliant to hear the silt is a good thing and I shall keep it by to put back into the pond. I'd read about people using it on their gardens and hanging baskets and how it was wonderful for the plants, so it makes sense it'd be wonderful for the pond too! I've not noticed any dragon fly nymphs before but I'm hoping clearing the solid mass of flag irises out will enable them to make use of our pond next year. 

Now if only it'd stop raining for a day so I can get out there and get it done. Hoping to get it out, dug and back in again before nightfall to cause minimal disturbance, but that might be wishful thinking!

No silt or a little silt?

Posted: 21/10/2013 at 08:39

Yes, thank you nutcutlet. I think I shall add a little of it back in and let a few leaves join the mix so the frogs still have some protection and the little critters something to eat.

I've also seen a lot of the websites you mention Sara, that make out that any amount of silt will be the death of the pond, with people saying how they clean their pond out every week or every few days. Seems quite bonkers. Ours hasn't been touched in years and it is full of life, so it can't be so bad!

Weed (perhaps)?

Posted: 21/10/2013 at 08:34

That's good to know Dove. I collected some seed from a local park this summer and now I know it'll be a longer wait to see which bag is which colour flowers!

No silt or a little silt?

Posted: 20/10/2013 at 21:56

I'm in the process of emptying our pond and sinking it deeper into the ground as it was put in a bit wonky! It has become entirely solid with flag irises and marsh marigolds such that there was no clear water - earth worms were even living in there! I've taken out 2/3 of these plants but left a lump as the frogs adore them and the various critters feed off the decaying leaves.

Disrupting the wildlife is concerning me however, and I'm not sure how much of the silt to remove. There's maybe an inch or thereabouts of silt all over, and it stinks when dredged up, but I understand frogs sometimes hibernate in it and the leeches, flatworms, waterlice and maybe the snails too all use it for various purposes.

Would it be best to remove it all and accept that it will inevitably gradually build up again? Or should I save some to put back in there when I'm finished to disrupt the balance as little as possible? I am saving the clearer water and have plenty of rain water to top it up (the waterbutts even have little pond snails in! It rains snails round here it seems!)

Fuschias with very few flowers

Posted: 26/09/2013 at 08:20

I asked about this a few weeks back, convinced my fuchsia's age had put it past it's best before date, so am glad to hear the heat is to blame. I'd not even considered that! It's hugely leafy and has grown really well, but failed to flower, which seemed very odd to me! I shall let it live another year!

I thought another of my fuchsias had suffered the same problem - all leaf and no flower - until I visited my neighbour and noticed all the flowers are on her side, poking through the wire fence!


Posted: 25/09/2013 at 16:02

The browse button should be to the left of the save button. Is there a space there where it is perhaps not loading? I can see my browse button, though it doesn't act like a normal button, but when I click it it does let me browse my computer as it should. 

Monster weed

Posted: 25/09/2013 at 15:56

It is very annoying to not know what it is, especially since it's taking up so much space, and looks like it's gonna hang around forever until I lose patience with it!

I walked alongside the river today and took note of the patches of Himalayan Balsam, and my monster weed is definitely not one of them. They're all in bloom and have far fewer leaves, and smaller ones, and the stem is solid or striped red. And well remembered nutcutlet, the leaves often had a red midrib.

Monster weed

Posted: 24/09/2013 at 19:25

No signs of it spreading underground so I'm comfortable it's not a knotweed.

Glad someone likes it Patty3! I never thought it'd get this big or last so long unidentified. Was sure it'd have flowered by now. Alas.

The leaves are slightly shiny and smooth nutcutlet. No hairs that I can notice on either side.

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