Neglect at your peril

PUBLISHED: 12:59 11 May 2006 | UPDATED: 14:40 12 May 2010

Wild violets need checking to look good

Wild violets need checking to look good

WHEN working in your herbaceous borders, be aware that small creeping weeds need to be watched on account of their invasive habits, just as much as the regular villains, such as bindweed and ground elder. Creeping finger grass invading large clumps of per

WHEN working in your herbaceous borders, be aware that small creeping weeds need to be watched on account of their invasive habits, just as much as the regular villains, such as bindweed and ground elder.

Creeping finger grass invading large clumps of perennials can be a struggle to remove.

This delicate looking grass puts out fine but long tendrils, which produce roots at regular intervals. At points these roots dive deeply into the soil and form a new base from which further little tendrils are sent out to colonise.

Pulling the tendrils off is easy, but getting the rooted sections out is surprisingly difficult.

Wild violets can also cause trouble. They are charming in their way, and their little mauve flowers are delightful nestling among primroses at the edge of a border.

But neglect them and in no time at all they will have formed a carpet of leaves with sturdy running roots which find their way among the border plants and have a smothering and totally undesirable effect.

Be quite ruthless with violets, weeding them out and leaving just one of two controlled patches.

It is now safe to use a mower to cut off the fading foliage of snowdrops which have been growing in grass, and although this often leaves a patch of brown where the snowdrops have limited the growth of the grass, this will soon disappear and green over again.

Similarly, crocus leaves can be mown where the bulbs have been growing in lawns, but where they are in borders they can be left alone to wither away, as the leaves of other plants will conceal them.

Autumn-fruiting raspberries are putting up strong new growth at this time of the year, and now is a good time to dig up some of these new canes and replant them to fill in any gaps.

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