Monday, May 11, 2009

Don't fear the geranium

I tell the kids a weed is just a plant that is not wanted. That would make geranium a weed in my eyes. Not only do they not have a scent, but the flowers are weak in visual appeal. Worst of all is the foul smell given off when the stems are broken - which is very easy to do. I imagine the only reason they're popular is that they grow and propagate easily. They're popular with my kids simply because they liked to burrow through the vegetation in that corner - which is now rather sparse. Yet burrowing can't be high on the list of reasons geranium DNA has lasted so long.

I was finally given permission to to remove the evil geraniums in front of the house, to stop them choking the Geraldton Wax bush (a Western Australia native, whose flowers last well after cutting). Of course, the main problem with this job is the geranium stink. Weighed against that was seeing them gone forever.

I had tried to cut it back a few years ago, but was eventually driven away by the perverse protecting of the scrubby Geraldton Wax. By this time, there was a surprising amount of geranium - some of it over two metres tall - yet hardly any flowers to be seen. Truly a weed.
Fortunately the root ball - and another branched off one - proved very easy to remove: I just speared a hole beside the root, then pulled it away in a few pieces. It helped that the ground ther

Throughout the rest of the day, I kept seeing geranium branches before my eyes. That's what happens when the task involves spotting and rooting out all of a particular form [it's the same after a session clearing out Wandering Jew (Tradescantia fluminensis) or privet seedlings]. But it was also because there were bits strewn around for some time. There was too much to fit in either the compost bin or the garden waste (rubbish) bin, so it had to be corralled.

So, the worry remains now: that the great detritus in the compost bin will propagate into an unwieldy horde at the opposite end of the property. I'll be waiting.

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