Friday 17 May 2013

Back in the beds (Week 6, Friday)

We have had so much to do with the Smyrnium first and filling the pits left by the Nash sculptures that it felt like we had not seen the South Canal Beds for ages.

Rubus allegheniensis

Being back to our collection, working in our beds. felt really good this morning, despite the fact I was so tired for doing some extra volunteering at Chelsea Flower Show that I felt physically drained again.

I decided to tackle a big patch of ground elder (Aegopodium podagraria) around beautiful Rubus allegheniensis, one of my favourites with its mahogany red stems.

Ground elder, leaves and rhizomes

An edible plant that I have never tasted, ground elder is one of the noxious weeds that we keep out of the compost heap at Kew, and has to be disposed of in bin bags. In the soil, it spreads through white (young) light brown (mature) rhizomes, and reproduces even from fragments so you need patiently to dig it all out all if you want to clear an area.

Luckily, the soil is quite sandy at Kew, so it is easy to shake it off without breaking the rhizomes (which is not the case where I live, where the soil sticks to the fragment, with high risk of leaving bits behind).

I have cleared as many as possible of the rhizomes that had grown inside and around the roots of the Rubus (like in the picture), by digging around them. In the process, I have pruned back all the dead canes, rejuvenating the shrub.


Here is it how the Rubus looked before


and after my special beauty treatment...

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