Friday, May 25, 2007

Tales of the runaway garden # 1

Sow thistles are one of our worst weeds.

Goldfinches and bullfinches are some of our best birds.


What can you do?

10 comments:

marja-leena said...

At least the thistle is good for one thing! Lovely birds and great photos, Lucy.

zephyr said...

save a few for the birds
pull the rest
relish the yearly chore and the feast

Tall Girl said...

The colours are great in that second shot.

catalyst said...

Photography.

herhimnbryn said...

Great images L.

meggie said...

Wonderful birds.
Even weeds are useful!

stitchwort said...

The leaves are so attractive I'm surprised nobody has bred a garden version.
And they are a lot easier to deal with than shepherd's purse, one of our weeds - blinking thing has seeded before it's big enough to see.

Plutarch said...

Cultivate a bed of sow thistle for the sake of the finches. Eradicate the rest by persistent and thorough digging, where you remove every root. Perhaps there is a use for the root, though Mrs Grieves (author of a Modern Herbal (first published in 1931) does not suggest one. She does however quote "an old author" who, writing of the love which hares and rabbits have for it, says " when fainting with the heat she (the hare)recruits her strength with this herb; or if a hare eat of this herb in the summer when he is mad, he shall become whole."
The seeds which the finches have failed to eat will blow all over the place, you will say. And you will be right. So keep your hoe moving, as an old gardner once said to me. There is much pleasure to be had in hoeing.

Lucy said...

Thanks all! They're a bit fuzzy, of course, needed some tweaking to sharpen them up a bit, having been taken hastily through the window. The goldfinches are nesting in the ivy in the tree across the road, I can see them coming and going from where I'm sitting now and they can't see me; if I go out there they pretend that's not really where they're going at all! It's the first year the bullfinches have been regular visitors, I don't know where they live but it can't be too far. Greenfinches and chaffinches are ubiquitous, the greenfinches seem to prefer the dandelions.
Zephyr, hello and welcome! What a pretty name; where might I find you?(I've an idea I've sen you somewhere before...)
TG - it was nice of that bullfinch to pose where it did!
Stitchwort and Plutarch - they are rather elegantly shaped, I suppose. They were cultivated in medieval times as potherbs, though I can't imagine they were very nice, and for fodder, and my Aunty Elsie was said to have gathered a field full and patiently fed them to a very sick cow, thereby saving its life, so perhaps there is some basis for the mad hares and bunnies medicating themselves. Though I thought hares were supposed to be mad in March? Hares are amongst my favourite animals. I suppose the seeds the finches do eat won't grow, and in fact there was a degree of alliterative licence in saying they were some of our worst; they are quite easy to pull up and not overly pernicious and pervasive. Shepherds' purse is a curse, and chickweed also. Probably most of your gardens would put us to shame, by the sounds of Plutarch's well hoed plot!

marly said...

What an adorable little eye-popper...