Sticky Willy is taking over my garden. I came back from boating to a wilderness, with only an occasional glimpse of lettuce and roses. Sticky Willy is also known as Goosegrass, but Sticky Willy is what we always called it as children. I don't like to think about what it might mean. Best to keep one's mind on horticultural possibilities.
It's a clever plant that climbs with abandon over and under everything, its stems thick and lush and - you guessed it - sticky, but at the root it narrows to a thread so when you pull it out, the thread breaks and the root is left behind. In the photo it's taking over a hebe. Give it another day or two and it'll be in the bedroom window.
It also has sticky seeds. They're the small spheres that dogs often sport at this time of year when back from a gambol in the bushes. These little burs are difficult to remove, so doing the plant a favour by passing its seeds around the neighbourhood. The stickiness of the leaves and seeds is also unpleasant on the skin - it brings me up in a stinging rash for an hour or two.
My garden work at this time of year is almost totally made up of crisis weeding. 'I just go around the garden with my trowel,' says my dad, implying that I could do the same and keep things under control. But he doesn't have an acre surrounded by fields that are intent on producing weed seeds and sneaking them back onto my land. This is what I'm faced with (see photo). Creeping buttercup (all these creeping things) is another one that sends out arms and legs and tries to embrace everyone as though we are all its lovers.
These are the surface creepers. Then there are the really sneaky ones that send out their roots underground. These are impossible to eradicate unless you dig up the whole plot along with the shrubs and flowers already in it which somewhat defeats the purpose. Here's a photo of one of these plants. It's the tall maid at the front in fetching pink petals looking so sweet among the purple Monkshood. Rosebay Willow Herb colonises wasteland and my garden. Its roots are thick and woody and refuse to pull out of the ground. Some years I let if flower and pretend its supposed to be there. I've done the same with the creeping buttercup beside the drive - I've redesignated it a beautiful garden ground cover plant and let it be.