Tag Archives: garden maintenance

Wall Lettuce (Mycelis muralis)

Wall Lettuce, weed, Mycelis muralis, Lactuca muralis, Prenanthes muralis, garden Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

The rosette of jagged leaves hints that this plant is probably related to the common dandelion, but I didn’t know for sure…
so I left it growing.

After a bit of time, a tall stem rises from the centre & produces a mist of tiny yellow flowers that are more like a daisy than a dandelion.
Hmmm.
Weed?
Not a weed?

Wall Lettuce, weed, Mycelis muralis, Lactuca muralis, Prenanthes muralis, garden Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

I kinda like the cloud of yellow daisy flowers ‘floating” 3 feet above the ground.
But they don’t last long…
then they’re just messy looking.

And I’m not keen on the foliage.

Overall, Wall lettuce is not all that decorative…

Wall Lettuce, Mycelis muralis, Lactuca muralis, Prenanthes muralis, garden Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

Mycelis muralis is native to Turkey & other European areas. Wildlife in the Mediterranean evolved using this plant.
Not so in North America. Wall lettuce is still new to the wildlife here. If I want more beneficials & pollinators in our garden I’d be further ahead adding more native plants that the wildlife enjoy & depends on.

So, in our garden, wall lettuce is a weed.
Decision made.

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Other plants that might be considered ‘weeds’:

Smile of the Day 4

Hedge consumes sign, garden Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

We were cycling along, minding our own business, when I just had to laugh out loud.

It’s a Hedge Monster consuming a street sign.
Caught in the act!
🙂

It’s a funky neighbourhood place marker.
Do little kids use it to help them find their way home from school?
How big was it when it was first planted?
How long has it been this big?
So many questions…

Hedge consumes sign, garden Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

The foliage density impresses me… as does the tidiness of clipping inside the shrub itself — around the street sign.

The stains on the sidewalk & driveway tell me the hedge sometimes overwhelms its allowed space.

It could easily impede

  • driveway access.
  • mower access on the neighbour’s lawn.
  • pedestrian access along the sidewalk.

How often does the gardener sheer this shrub to keep it tidy?

I giggle to myself & cycle away, on the lookout for more fun.

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Creeping Bellflower – Campanula rapunculoides

It came into our garden with some ‘free’ soil.  I didn’t know its name, for sure.  It looked an awful lot like ladybells, Adenophora liliifolia?  It was a decorative, bonus plant – score!
Little did I know the work that pretty bellflower would create.

Campanula rapunculoides, creeping bellflower, Bluebell weed, rampion bellflower, rover bellflower, European bellflower, garden Victoria BC Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

Deer ignored it for one season… at the most. After that, they ate the buds before flowering. The deers’ pruning might’ve spurred the plant into a frenzy of suckering.  When digging out the extras, I realized how this bellflower got its common name– Creeping Bellflower spreads from the mother plant by lateral roots running below the soil surface.

It quickly became quite a thug.  I had to be realistic. A monocultural garden isn’t my thing.  Campanula rapunculoides had to go.

Campanula rapunculoides, creeping bellflower, Bluebell weed, rampion bellflower, rover bellflower, European bellflower, garden Victoria BC Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

One soggy autumn weekend, I dug out the entire bed.  Other keeper perennials were set aside to thoroughly wash their root systems before replanting at the end of the project.  I discovered creeping bellflower was even more invasive than I first realized.  It also has deeper storage roots, enabling survival through brutal winters & long droughts. Those roots can easily sprout a multitude of new plants, even if the original is removed from the base.
Tenacious.

Sifting through the soil & removing the invading white roots of the C.rapunculoides, was a tough job but worth it.  Many years later, I regularly weed out young plants surfacing from roots that I’d missed, but I’m winning the war.

Campanula rapunculoides, creeping bellflower, Bluebell weed, rampion bellflower, rover bellflower, European bellflower, garden Victoria BC Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

This summer, I noticed a new patch at the College campus. Can you imagine the tenacity of a plant volunteering in a crack in the pavement?  These plants must’ve arrived via seed distribution. Behind some fencing, creeping bellflower is protected from the deer. Fortunately, the grounds staff cut them to the ground in record time.

Campanula rapunculoides, creeping bellflower, Bluebell weed, rampion bellflower, rover bellflower, European bellflower, garden Victoria BC Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

So, I guess it’s not even safe to keep this bully restrained in a pot because it’ll spread like mad if it ever goes to seed, too.

I’m pretty lenient when it comes to vigorous plants in our garden..  Wild violets grow in our lawn. Cyclamen hederifolium is still welcome in certain beds. I’ve left some patches of bluebell in well-contained spots (but they’re sheered as soon as the blooms begin to fade).  Some other tough-as-nails plants are held in check by simply not watering them through our long, summer drought.

But I’m putting my foot down when it comes to Campanula rapunculoides.
Not in my backyard.
My goal is to grow the native harebell, C. rotundifolia, instead. It’s much better behaved.

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