Friday, August 12, 2011

On Early Morning Weeding And William Blake

One of the most unexpected consequences of finishing the steps in the kitchen garden is my daily weeding expeditions, usually early in the morning, invariably with a cup of tea in hand.  I  finally have "access all areas" and just love to begin my day with a trot around the beds and borders, weeding as I go.

I have a few nettles under the hedge, some docks and tons of that blasted Cardamine hirsuta or hairy bittercress.  It's such a small, innocuous looking plant; a tiny rosette of leaves topped with simple, pretty white flowers.  Oh do not be fooled gentle gardener, by this pretty little plant.  It may be a short-lived annual, from seed to seed takes about a month, but it overwinters successfully, just waiting for you to start turning over the soil in spring.  It spreads rapidly by the sudden and explosive release of seed heads, usually when you've got the plant between your hand ready to lift.  Now you have thousands of seeds scattered... and within days the damned things are sprouting and the whole sorry life cycle begins again.  Surely Blake wasn't thinking only of his rose when he wrote;

"O Rose thou art sick.
The invisible worm,
That flies in the night
In the howling storm:
Has found out thy bed
Of crimson joy:
And his dark secret love
Does thy life destroy."

Some people actually eat hairy bittercress.  Beggars belief.

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