Battling with Green alkanet

By April 19, 2023Gardening
Mowing the Green Alkanet

The photograph above was taken on 4 October 2018 and I was just about to mow down some Green alkanet

Mowing over the weeds as I would turf without pulling them first out was a very bad idea

I moved out of the home that I shared with my ex and into my current flat in 2018.  My plan on moving back to my flat was to give myself a couple of months or so to settle and then make a solid plan for the garden.  However, in November 2018 we had an office fire, and the next months were spent dealing with the fallout.  The garden was intermittently neglected and overgrown and whenever I had time, I would simply mow the lawn weeds and all.

In January 2020, we had just moved back into our recently refurbished office when there were rumblings about covid19 and on 16 March 2020 we began working from home which has been the case ever since.  Even though I have been working from home, I have had very little time to tend to the garden in between all the personal and professional firefighting due to covid19 chaos.


Beautiful Bee friendly plant or wicked weed?

Green Alkanet

When my home renovations overran in March 2023 that I began working in the garden in earnest.  The builders needed access to the flat, so it made sense to make headway.  When I attempted weeding the lawn I was in for a shock.  I was familiar with this furry large fleshy leaved weed that pulled up easily.  This time was different.  They were very difficult to pull out, so I had to dig into the soil to remove them.  To my horror, I was uncovering large tuberous roots which were extremely difficult to remove.  The roots would break off during removal which I found alarming.

Further research confirmed cause for concern.  I am dealing with a pervasive perennial weed called Green Alkanet.  One day I spent hours digging up the tap roots and tubers and filled 4 garden waste bags.  This is from an area smaller than a quarter of my relatively tiny lawn I dread to think how many bags I would need for the entire lawn.  I was so exhausted from digging that I fell asleep almost the moment I sat on my sofa.

Here are two excellent links I found about Green Alkanet

My possible 3-pronged plan to eliminate Green alkanet or (Pentaglottis sempervirens)

  1. Physically digging out the weeds

I have been digging these up as mentioned above, but it is hard work and extremely slow.  Also, it is very difficult to remove the entire root.  Each time a small part of the root is left behind, it simply regenerates into a new plant using the resources that the weed has stored in the underground tubers.  The tubers also network below the soil to form new tubers.  The invasion is so severe I could spend all my time just dealing with Green Alkanet and still not eradicate it.  I was hoping to spend some time enjoying gardening as opposed to dealing with weeds all the time.  On the positive side, digging up the roots is an amazing workout.

  1. Smothering them with membrane

I also considering covering the lawn up with a black membrane and then covering the membrane with artificial grass for at least a year.  That way I will only need to worry about the weed popping out in the borders which I can pull out.  It means I will be fighting the weeds in a smaller surface.  In the meantime, the weeds will be starved of sunlight and will die once they cannot make food via photosynthesis.

  1. Employing chemical weed killers

I am worried that I will never be able to re-establish my lawn unless I use weed killers.  This would be a shame as I had hoped to begin introducing edible plants which is not compatible with the use of pesticides.  I would like to embrace a more organic way of gardening using preferably natural predators if possible.

However, I still have a stockpile of weed killers that I used to use on the driveway, and I am tempted to use this directly on the plants and their tap weeds.  I don’t want to spend all my energy on digging out this weed.

The positive effect of gardening on my mental health

I am still working my way through one of the most tumultuous times in my life.  Embracing gardening again has been amazing.  Even the time spent pondering dealing with weeds is time away from thinking about pressing problems and gives me a welcome mental break.  After spending time in the garden, I feel as though I have taken a walk in Epping Forest.

Where I am with my weight loss journey

My exercise and healthy eating regime are in tatters, especially since November 2022 when I started missing classes.  Things got worse in January 2023 because I had to eat a lot of pub food as well as miss classes once work on the kitchen and bathroom commenced and then overran.  Accordingly, I promised myself that I was not going to fret and worry about weight gain.

Are you into gardening?  If yes, what method do you think I should employ to bring the Green Alkanet under control?  Please comment on the blog or my social media.

Until next time!



Author Julie

Lawyer (co-founding partner/solicitor of a legal aid practice), blogger, feminist, lover of fashion & beauty. I believe that there are two types of people - the living and the dead. Age has nothing to do with it.

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