Adventures in Gardening

As Matt worked on the shed, I worked on digging up the stones on half of our patio.  I like the stones, but the patio as-is just isn’t working so I’m going to reporpose the stones for paths and edging elsewhere.

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I’m currently about 1/3 of the way through the patio.  Looks gorgeous, huh?  We’ve got a fine crop of weeds this year. (you can also see my make-shift herb/veggie garden in the pots–tomato, basil, and mint.  It will be a good summer for caprese and mojitos…. if I can keep basil alive more than a week…)

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This isn’t going to be the final layout (there will be a fair amount of tetris-ing, I’m sure) but I wanted to get an idea of how many of the stones I would need before I start digging them into place.  I’m also planning on having some sort of ground-cover between the stones so those un-mowable patches of weeds won’t be staying.

I also have a PSA for newbie-gardeners:  know thy evil plants.

I grabbed a pretty innocuous looking weed to rip it up and immediately knew something was amiss by the stabbing pain.  Ok thorns, no biggie, right? WRONG!  The stabbing/burning continued after I let go.  Ohshit.  I ran my hand under cold water and washed it with soap to try and wash away whatever toxin was causing the burning, but no luck. I even tried hot water which is a treatment for marine stingers… doesn’t work with mid-western flora apparently. On a whim I googled “Stinging nettles” and sure enough, it looked exactly like what I had grabbed bare-handed.  Joy.  The next morning–12 hours later–my hand was still burning.  I tried hydro-cortisone and antihistamines but it still didn’t really start to subside until around 18 hours later.  For the next couple of days it still felt like I had a mostly-healed burn on my palm.

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It doesn’t look all that terrifying does it?  The barbs on the stems really just look like fuzz… until you grab them.  I was feeling kind of like a dumbass for not knowing what stinging nettles look like (#citygirl) but apparently none of my co-workers did either.  One found out about them the same way I did, but another just knew she had these killer plants in her yard (seriously, one just brushed against her arm once and started the whole burning awfulness).  My sister suggested this link for weed identification… but she also suggested having Matt do all the weed pulling and I kind of like that idea.

It doesn’t help matters that we have another plant that looks pretty similar to the nettles.

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This one?  Not a nettle.  The leaves are still jagged, but a little broader and they get bluebell-like flowers on them later in the summer.  Anyone know what they really are?  The leaves seem to wrong for bluebells…

 

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Fuzzy stem, still not a nettle.  These guys get brown-eyed susan like flowers on them, but they’re way taller (about 4+ feet at their peak) and spindly-er than the brown-eyed susans I’m used to.

 

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These guys just flowered.  The flowers are more purple than they look here and I think they’re adorable… I just have no clue what they are.

 

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And my final mystery plant… I don’t remember these flowering last summer (but we didn’t move in until July).  It’s currently about 2 feet tall and too well-placed for me to just write off as a weed.

For those of you playing along at home, any ideas on my mystery plants?  The first 2 have just about taken over our back yard so they clearly spread like mad.

One thought on “Adventures in Gardening

  1. My husband and I are facing a similar ‘is this a weed, or did someone plant this here on purpose’ situation. We moved into a new house in April, and the backyard is home to all sorts of fascinating bushy things. We’re in extreme Northern MN, so it took a while for everything to sprout. Now we just spend a lot of time Googling pictures of plants and sending bad cellphone pics to our resident family plant gurus asking for help.
    Best of luck with your yard. I’m sure it’ll be great.

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