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.

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