chameleon plant

Yeah, so

by grace on September 16, 2021

happy anniversary to us. We were married 15 years ago today and at this exact time on that day it was official and we were probably making toasts or something at the Motor Boat Club.

I got sad looking at some of our wedding photos because so many people are dead, or we’re no longer in touch. Some of them I’m in touch with but just barely. Maybe I’ll get out of this no-talking-to-most-people-but-Bev rut. Maybe.

But here we were on that day, looking very happy. Because we were.

Yeah, so, I just want to contrast that photo of us here in what is now our backyard with the selfie I took this afternoon in selfsame yard.

Yeah, so…oh my. This is the 16th day I’ve been battling the dreaded chameleon weed, wearing Kevin’s Australian hat which on the inside says it’s a “Swaggies hat with fly control”. I wear it so mosquitoes and gnats don’t bite, but that big red thing high up on my cheek is where a mosquito took a big chomp.

The corks are on strings which bounce all around and are supposed to deter the bugs. I’ve worn this hat a lot and some of the corks have fallen off and right after this I’m going to see if I can buy a new one on Amazon.

But then there’s…whew. The other red splotch on my face is just that, it’s sun damage but actually it might have been there 15 years ago but carefully concealed. Not quite as glamorous as my wedding day there in the yard.

But oh, the fun I’ve been having. This is how many rhizomes were under a stone in the yard. This is actually just one layer; they go down pretty far.

This is about the entire section I finished in one day, and this was the second time I dug up the ground, because the first time I was using that garden claw instead of this very helpful rake.

I finished this strip in back of the fence today. We had paving bricks and three mums which I had to cover with netting so the deer wouldn’t eat them. I’d already dug up part of this bit, but yesterday and today I tried to get lots more of the rhizomes. The thing is that if you keep digging around you just keep finding them. At some point I had to stop digging because I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life doing it.

Today I also had the brilliant idea that we’re going to forget about putting the bricks back. That’s what I did with other parts along the outer edge of the fence – I put down landscaping cloth and put the bricks and some mulch over them. I know this won’t prevent the weeds from coming back but at least it’d slow them down.

But we decided it would be OK to leave out the bricks and just plant grass along the fence, the way Dad left it. And when the evil chameleon plants poke their heads out, probably in the next few days, I’m just going to chop them off at the base, no more digging.

Well, no more digging after I’m done digging. After I finished this section this morning I went back into the fenced yard to work on a section I’d already worked on a week or so ago and found gobs and gobs and gobs more. Many were nestled down into the roots of this beautiful vine that Amy gave me a few years ago.

I finally had to stop for the day because I was getting a little delirious plus it’s our anniversary and we should be celebrating. Celebrating!

While I was doing all the digging Kevin was hard at work on our new patio.

And Riley was just trying to relax.

I’m not pulling weeds constantly, though. On Saturday I sat down at the dock and read this awesome book that Jim and Amy bought for me. Spot was at my side because he just wants to be with us all the time.

Yes, reading a picture book about Lake Springfield while sitting on the shore looking at the lake. Doesn’t get much better than that.

ok then,

Mrs. it’s going to be fall in a few days Hughes.


The Dreaded Chameleon Plant

by grace on September 9, 2021

I’m always writing here about Kevin’s many projects, but don’t get the idea that I’m just lazing around. This plant below has been my obsession when I identified it with my friend Wanda’s help on August 17th. Maybe you know about this already, but she said that if you have the google app on your phone, you can turn on the camera in the app and point it at a plant and it identifies it. How cool is that? I clicked on it, and found out it’s a Chameleon Plant.

It’s called a Chameleon plant, but there are many other names for it, and it’s called a plant but it’s really a horrible, horrible weed. The latin name is Houttuynia cordata, and Wanda texted me that it was a “houttuynia,’ but I wonder if she’s ever said the name out loud? Here it is close-up.

I read lots of stuff about it online and many posts from people all over the world who have tried desperately to eradicate it. It has rhizomes which are rootlike stems that grow and spread horizontally. If you pull the root you have to get every last little bit of it because even a tiny piece will propagate like crazy. People reported that it grows underneath any kind of barrier – concrete or whatever – and it just keeps coming back.

Meanwhile…Kevin made and actually narrated this video about digging up the ground for the new patio. In the video you can see some of the noxious rhizomes which were all over the place under the old deck. They’re little white pieces of root.

The weeds are already coming back in an area where I tried to pull all of them up and it takes me from an hour to two hours to clear one little bit of land, as I use different tools to try to get every little piece. My Dad had left something called a Garden Claw, a long pole with a handle at one end and spike on the other; you push it into the ground and turn it, which brings up the pieces of root. Even though I didn’t bend my knees when turning it, Kevin says I was actually doing some tiny turns, which were very painful on my injured knee.

Luckily Dad also left a Garden Fork, another pole that kind of resembles a pitchfork. I used it yesterday and it’s much more straightforward as opposed to turning.

I’m making a little progress every day I can, but I had to half my efforts there for a week or so when it was just too hot out. Right now, though, the weather is perfect and I’m about to start in again today.

Kevin also bought me something called a Garden Looper, which can be used for just pulling out the tops of the plants, or also for other weeds. It has something at the end that looks like a triangle and you rub it over the earth, going down about a half inch, and it neatly cuts off the weeds.

Busy busy busy. And speaking of busy…Riley and Lester, very busy on the bed.

Ok then,

Mrs. September Hughes.