Lady Anne’s team have been tackling Hairy Bittercress (Cardamine hirsuta) the scourge of the Mediterranean Garden. This ephemeral weed has really taken advantage of the mild weather and seems to have germinated at a monstrous rate.
Hairy Bittercress can mature and set seed very quickly and is capable of many generations a year. Its life cycle really gets a hold in autumn time when it sets seed prolifically. In an average winter its growth is checked by the cold weather but with only a hand full of frosts worth mentioning, it had taken hold and formed a green carpet in some beds. Armed with patience, hand forks and kneeling pads the problem has been addressed.
Weed Fact file
Common Name: Hairy Bittercress
Latin name: Cardamine hirsuta
Hairy Bitter-cress is a common, edible weed of rocky areas, walls, gardens and cultivated ground which flowers almost all year-round. This plant self-pollinates; when the seeds are ripe they burst from their pods and can be dispersed up to a metre away in all directions, especially if the plants are shaken by the wind. New seedlings tend to grow in summer and early winter.
Control: best to hand weed, pulls out easily, weed before flowers have a chance to set seed. Tackle weeding early in the year to control growth later in the year. When planting out pot grown plants, it is a good idea to remove the top 2cm or so of compost as this is generally where a seed bank of unwanted weeds is present.
Here are a few photos of plants that are flowering in the Mediterranean Garden indicating the unseasonal mild weather we have experienced so far this winter.
Kniphofia tysonii. Flowered, then was scuppered by some frost, it is valiantly pushing up some more flower spikes.
Erysimum 'Bowles's Mauve' AGM
Rosmarinus officinalis 'Severn Sea' AGM
Echium sp. – will we have Echium flowers this year? Watch this space!