Month: June 2024

Garden Weeds

Attacking the Weeds

Pulling garden weeds is a priority this week. Recent rains have loosened the soil. So, it is easier to pull. I dislike using chemicals, thus the manual attack on Virginia creeper, bindweed and volunteer trees after each good rain. Plus, many other weeds. Too many to name.


Bindweed overtaking garden bed of chrysanthemums.The creeper and bindweed get top billing and first attack due to their invasiveness. The bindweed is in a few spots in the lot. Unfortunately, it is close to overtaking one of the front beds. My attempts to eradicate it are foiled by the persistence of the weed. Additionally, the bed is difficult to weed because ants have made the area into a home.

I have field bindweed (Convolvulus arvensis) in my yard. Some years I think I am getting ahead of it. But not this year. My absence from the garden last fall is taking a toll. With the exception of a few vines on the lot, the bindweed has not begun flowering. I hope to wrestle control before the white flowers appear.

Virginia Creeper

Virginia Creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia) is favored by some as a plant. But I place it into the garden weeds category. I wear long sleeves, long pants and gloves when I battle this five-leaved vine. Since I am sensitive to the oils in the plant, the covering keeps me from receiving a skin rash. This is one of those garden weeds that can cause allergic reactions and sickness if the berries are eaten. So, even though they provide beautiful color in the fall with the leaves turning orange and crimson, I dislike this particular vine.

Virginia Creeper climbing up an evergreen tree.

Volunteer Trees as Garden Weeds

A side effect of planting many trees years ago is that the trees are now mature enough to produce seeds and thus seedlings. Last year the Chinese elm was the greatest nuisance. This year both red bud and oak trees are popping up everywhere.

Occasionally, a seedling escapes my notice for a year or two. When that occurs, I try to find a new home for the tree. I particularly have luck transplanting the cedars and junipers. If the volunteer is in a good place for a tree, it is protected so growth can naturally occur.

Therefore, a beautiful Shademaster honeylocust is part of the northern boundary of my property. The nursery claimed these trees were seedless. But my trees all produce large brown seed pods. And one new tree about ten foot tall.

My Bur Oak (Quercus macrocarpa) continues to thrive and is determined to drop seedlings when the squirrels miss an acorn or two. Unlike the Gambel Oak (Quercus Gambelii) which are known as scrub oak, the Bur Oak stands as a single specimen. Planted almost thirty years ago, my Bur Oak is taller than my house. I don’t really have a spot for a second one.

Few Garden Weeds in Big Garden

The Raised Row Technique of gardening continues to tamp down on weeds. I highly recommend owning the book by the Competti’s. For the review click here. The mulch also keeps the soil from drying out and makes the weeds easy to pull even without a rain.

Raised Row Vegetable Garden

Winter’s Child Book Review

A Favorite Series

Winter’s Child by Margaret Coel was released in 2016. The author announced upon release that the novel would be the last in the Wind River mystery series. And unlike the recently reviewed Museum of Lost Quilts, Winter’s Child appears to be the finale.

For those unfamiliar with the series, Coel uses the Wind River Indian Reservation as the setting. The protagonist is Father John O’Malley, a recovering alcoholic sent to the wilds of Wyoming for one last chance.

Indian lawyer Vicky Holden also has a starring role in the series and Winter’s Child focuses on the legal adoption of a five-year-old white child by an Arapaho couple that discovered her on their porch when she was a newborn.

Story Line of Winter’s Child

Vicky Holden braves a winter storm to attend a meeting with area lawyers at the request of Clint Hopkins a solo practitioner who specializes in adoptions. A man who keeps most findings in his memory instead of written down, Clint is run down leaving the meeting. And leaving a mystery for Vicky to solve.

Side Story

Running parallel to the main theme is the research of Shannon O’Malley, niece of Father John. Shannon’s visit to Wyoming includes delving into the history of two white children kidnapped by Indians many years ago. One of the girls became an Arapaho through marriage. Shannon hopes to interview descendants while also recovering from a romantic break-up.

Ending a Series with Winter’s Child

Naturally, Coel manages to tie the story lines together. She also tries to wrap-up the longstanding theme of forbidden love. Even though the mystery in Winter’s Child came to a satisfying conclusion, I am not as happy with the novel signaling the end of the series. Too many unanswered questions with respect to the relationship between the lawyer and the priest.