Tag Archives: Canada thistle

The latest and not always greatest in the garden

Some observations from out in the garden:

This white bee balm is the only one to have survived last winter and while it is nice to see it blooming, it honestly doesn’t do much for me and the powdery mildew is real bad, worse than with all of the other bee balm. We don’t know until we try, right?

white bee balm


Right plant for the right location = happiness, as seen with the Physostegia (Obedient Plant) below. This first photo was taken back in May when I dug up and divided a massive batch of these and relocated them to my newly extended and very empty garden bed.

divided obedient

Two months later and they are thriving in a very wet and full sun location. I am very psyched for the massive pink display to arrive next month.

obedient vivid


You’ve all seen all of my numerous pics of Veronica ‘Royal Candles’ and read my raving reviews of this perennial but in the spirit of my last post and with full disclosure, here is the reality of the “legs” on these right now.

veronica bad

Fortunately, I’ve shielded most of them with other low lying plants so the blooms remain the attraction.

veronica good


I love how one ‘Karl Foerster’ grass (Calamagrostis) can break up a mass of perennials and not only lend a different height/uprightness, but a different texture as well.

front bed


I cleared this area of nasty Canada Thistle by cutting them all at soil level and not by attempting to pull out the roots like a dope which has failed me miserably for years now since it actually multiplies the number of weeds when pieces of root break off.

thistle path

I will now finally track the results properly. Here is one example of the cutting.

thistle cut

And about one week later. I’m going to now cut it back again soon and will continue to do so until it kills itself by sapping all of the plant’s energy. Or so I hope. More to come.



I just purchased a few ‘Delft Lace’ Astilbes solely because I fell in love with the red stems and red tinged foliage. I’ll be sure to track this one for you and hopefully I don’t fry them since you know, they need constant moisture and it is the dead of summer. Smart.

delft astilbe


My attempt at a path with a true destination worth visiting.


These purplish bee balm are incredible right now and are my favorite current place in the garden. 

planter bed 2


planter bed


bee balm 2

They are bringing in a ton of visitors. 

hummingmoth 2


butterfly bee balm 2


Check out all of the action with this video.

QOTD – Where do you purchase most of your plants? And I want specific names and locations please.

Thank you.


Mixed bag

A bunch of different items for today:

1)Last year I talked about my battle with Canada Thistle and it is even worse so far this year. Like close to pushing me over the edge worse.

canada thistle

That ornamental grass above is in danger of being fully enveloped by these bully weeds. Just yanking them out of the ground hoping to get the entire root system has not worked.

Here’s my plan (which was really the original plan last year) going forward.


2)My latest Social Media obsession is Snapchat. I’m still trying to grasp how to utilize it for gardening and plant purposes but I will get there. Take a deep breath and give it a whirl won’t you? And if you do, add this wanna-be-15-year-old-who-looks-more-and-more-like-a-43-year-old-every-day.



3)Within the next week or so, I will be fortunate enough to trial an “automower” from Husqvarna. Much more to come on this one and yes, it is a robotic lawn mower. How cool is that?

4)Have I mentioned just how over the top pumped I am for my three Andropogon ‘Red October’? And they all just emerged within the past few days.



5)Mia is still kind of awesome …


… and spoiled





Canada Thistle Removal

Here is a picture of a peony.


Pretty, right? Well that is the end of pretty for today. Hope you enjoyed it.

My last few posts have focused on the the progress in my garden and how wonderful it all looks. Fun stuff for sure, but I need to get a dirty little secret off of my chest. More than ever before, I’m fighting off a vicious attack from …

Canada Thistle (Cirsium arvense):

canadian thistle 2

And there is no one to blame but myself.

I enjoy weeding. I really do. I’ve even considered creating an exercise video based on the core movements required for proper weeding. It is a test of strength, mobility and a lightness of touch needed to ensure the entire root system has been removed.

But not all weeds are created equally. And unfortunately, I’m a “once and done” weed guy. I never spray chemicals and in fact, never use any sort of spray, even if it is natural and safe. I don’t have the patience to wait for them to die; once I am in eradication mode, I want them out of sight.

This works well for some weeds and not for others. Who can forget my journey with Red Sorrel? I’m still fighting that battle; but we can discuss that at another time.

Similar to how I first attacked the red sorrel, when the Canada Thistle started to pop up in high volume, I grabbed my gloves and a trowel and went to work.

I dug deep enough to be able to grab the roots without touching the painful barbs and softly yanked them out trying to grab as much of the root as possible.

Once and done.

Out of sight and out of mind.

But not so fast.

Within no time, the Canada Thistle was back and badder than before. Like literally within the week. Most intelligent beings would research why this was the case, but not me. I went back to popping them out only to see them emerge again, nearly doubling in count. They were like the frickin Gremlins.

canadian thistle

canadian thistle 3

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Fool me three times … and it is time to hit up Google.

Damn was I doing it all wrong.

I knew the Canada Thistle root system was extensive, but up to 15 feet deep? Holy s. And each time you break off a root by pulling it out of the ground, you are theoretically creating two new plants by splitting the root in half. Double the bastards to deal with in the future. Why didn’t I just take a minute to read up on this before jumping into the fray blindly?

Well now I’ve learned and it is time to attack these in a different way.  As I’ve now read, the best option is to prepare for a long and drawn out battle. By cutting them to the ground first and then cutting off the subsequent new growth on a weekly basis, the nutrient reserves in the roots are slowly spent and eventually, this perennial will die (or so we should hope).

So that is what I did.

canadian thistle 5

canadian thistle 6

And as you can see, there were kind of a lot to deal with.

canadian thistle 4

The goal is to keep this up on a regular basis and under no circumstances can I allow them to flower so they can spread their ugly little wings.

canadian thistle 7

And while this may prove to be a successful plan, the absolute best option is to plant, plant and plant. As the old adage goes, give weeds no exposure to the sun and no room to grow. For me, my best bet is to plant Bee Balm and let it take over.

bee balm

It is working in many areas of the garden so why not grow them everywhere?

More to come as the new canada thistle weeding plan unfolds.