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Thistle Wars

Joined: 11/9/2011
Posts: 23
The freakishly warm weather this March has made many of us face our garden and lawn shame earlier this year. Sure, sometimes the daffodils pop up early even after a bad winter with a lot of snow, but 71 degrees in mid-March? My grass is greening up by the hour. Since I was out sitting on my deck yesterday afternoon, I decided to mosey around the yard and check out what’s coming up. I wish I’d stayed on the deck. It was scary out there. Why didn’t I move to a condo complex when I had a chance?

Nuclear Thistles

Maybe you’re one of those city people who drive by thistles out in the country and think they’re pretty blue flowers. Yes, they do have very nice blue or purple flowers. They are also four feet tall and can put your eye out if you get too close. I have no doubt they will survive a nuclear strike or three. Admittedly, I’ve let my yard (did I mention it’s really acreage?) go the last couple summers. I had a bum ankle that wasn’t conducive to digging 10-inch trenches to get at the weed roots. At least that’s the excuse I’m using. So as I wandered around my scary flower beds, I started pulling up dead thistles and other weeds. It’s not that hard when they are withered husks. Not so tough now, are you big guys? That’s when they got me.

Get Some Good Gloves

On my cruise around the yard, I hadn’t stopped to put on garden gloves. If you do serious yard work, you need real gloves. Not those pretty ones with a flower pattern; those make weeds laugh out loud. I have a pair of leather ones and a beat-up, but still good pair of suede gloves. But they were in the shed and not on me, allowing numerous thistle barbs to jam into my hands and arms. The tricky part is that most of them are invisible. Stealth thistles are the worst. Invest is the best gloves you can find. It will give you a small advantage over the weeds.

Weed Killer

The other thing you have in your arsenal is weed killer. I’m a bit of a wimp in that area since I don’t want to harm my wild inhabitants. The rabbits eat thistles and I love those bunnies. I try to find a “safe” version. That was until I saw how great my neighbor’s gravel driveway looked. He bought some yellow goop at the local hardware store that had “hazardous” written in huge letters on the can. Looks like the weeds have passed the word not to go near that driveway. It explains how they all ended up in mine.

The Fun Part

Despite killer thistles and weeds that mock me, I can’t wait to start in on the fun part – buying and putting in plants. This year, I’ll be good and spend some edging and bed clean-up time and then reward myself with new goodies from the local nursery. I will also dutifully mulch and pull weeds as they arise. But surely someone has created a thistle-eating day lily by now?

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