Water water everywhere

The weather stands between me and the garden.
First it was cold and I must admit I did hope for snow and indeed snow fell.

snowy raised bed

So I ran outside and photographed the great drifts.

bench & snow

Okay it isn’t much snow. But often winter brings no snow at all to this valley…

palm in snow

Then recently we had some days of these little accumulations.

They fell, they melted, they fell, it rained, it snowed.

Then it snowed great feathery wet snow.

wet snow

Then it turned to rain.

Now we are drowning in rain. The rivers and ditches are full. The fields are lakes. Roads are closed, people are evacuated to gymnasiums and churches. Roofs leak. (Not mine, this time.)

lakes in fields

The Brick People are under this water, with only their tiny vertical masts showing still…

flooded bricks

I did a systematic search outside, and I found no bulbs up, hardly anything growing much at all –except the Marsh Marigold.

It is not surprising to find this native plant growing already in the rain.  It does really well here–in our marshes and in every part of the garden. It is also called Caltha palustris, but I just call it pushy.

Here is a picture of one of these little plants, in the woods garden this afternoon.
[See SPECIAL Follow-up REPORT below on this evil plant!]

marsh marigold

Here is a picture of a swath of Marsh Marigold on high ground in April, almost engulfing the terrier.

marsh marigolds in April

When it pops up everywhere and is all abloom I want to dig it out, vacuum it up, pave it, anything! It is truly frightenly invasive here, even in clay earth that dries up with the first sunny days of May. But then this plant finishes its imperialistic show and sinks right back to the dirt, leaves and all, and I can kind of forget about it until the next year…

My weather app says rain all day, rain all week, rain forever.

The Bad News: I don’t swim well.

The Good News: we live on a hill.


SPECIAL follow-up REPORT on nasty invasive sneaky plant
-Lesser Celandine, not Marsh Marigold at all-

Thanks to alert readers (please see comments section of this post) I have become aware of a cruel hoax perpetrated against my garden by an old woman who is now dead but probably was clueless and innocent really so I will not say anything bad about her because I am a mature and understanding person sometimes.

In short, my so-called native Oregon marsh marigold plants are in truth a noxious scary weed.  And really I suppose they fall into the “if it quacks it’s a duck” thinking in that they have always ACTED like a noxious scary weed…

REAL marsh marigolds are sweet plants that DO NOT spread around like gallons of spilled milk but instead stay in one place and are hard to grow and maybe just die like a polite plant but at least they don’t take over the world. And this difference alone is enough to convict the imposters. But they also have icky roots which I don’t want to even talk about.

An emergency meeting of the  Garden Committee was arranged.  Present were Max, Tillie, myself and my sharp shovel– Mr. O is off recycling metals and my dad’s ghost didn’t show up since this had nothing to do with the cannon –yet.

Now this was a morning meeting and we drank coffee but really I think Tillie’s coffee was special if you know what I mean…

Tillie's coffee

Anyway we talked about the wicked invasive nature of the imposter marigolds and how they had lied to us, every spring, for some years.  Then we voted and it was unanimous that the plants had to go. (Oddly, Tillie agreed with everyone else but she generally supports death and destruction so I shouldn’t be surprised I suppose.)

not marsh marigolds

soon to be gone not-marsh-marigolds

Some websites recommend poison, which made me think of Hamlet and pouring poison in the king’s ear. But I doubt these plants have ears and if they do I wouldn’ t know where to find them…

Then I also read that it is possible, over time, to just remove this plant, so I made a motion that in this instance we dig the victims up. Of course both the terrier and the shovel were keen on this, and Tillie had fallen asleep, so the motion passed.

Today is rainy and windy –but at the first opportunity We Dig. The big plastic compost bin is waiting, and I am confident that the Lesser Celandine is soon to become lesser and lesser.

About linniew

Unpublished novelist seeks therapy in gardening. Westie assists.
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47 Responses to Water water everywhere

  1. Grace says:

    Hi Linnie Dear, I’m glad you live on a hill! Me too. This rain has been rather incessant hasn’t it? One look at the Willamette River coming in to Corvallis this morning and I so wanted to pull over and just stare. It is up and over its banks and into the golf course!

    I hope your Brick People have little tiny snorkels attached to those masts.

    Your photo of The Terrier is adorable and frame-worthy! He looks so wise and refined, sitting there among the flowers and leaves.

    Have a warm, cozy weekend.

    • linniew says:

      Oh my, I haven’t see the Willamette River but I can imagine. New traps on the golf course I guess.

      I did go out and more closely examine the Brick People neighborhood and yes, those little masts are indeed snorkels! So they are safe.

  2. nnhgarden says:

    Living on a hill can be a good thing! Love those marsh marigolds!

    • linniew says:

      Yes not dry, but high. At least the basement doesn’t flood. I wish my liking of marsh marigolds was equal to the quantity of marsh marigolds growing in my gardens…They are kind of cheerful looking.

  3. Holleygarden says:

    Your mash marigold looks very pretty. And how nice for any invasive plant to retreat underground for a while! So sorry about the downpours. Your snow was just right – enough to be pretty, but not enough to be snowed in. Funny, I had to go outside and water a few things today! And like you, I keep looking for crocuses or something coming up out of the ground, but find nothing. Take care.

  4. Roberta says:

    Dear Linnie,
    It is very clear from this post that poo-gliders are not an option. You need rubber boots at the very least. And the brick people! The minute I read, “Then it turned to rain” I immediately thought of them. What do they do in the rain? Do they have deeper chambers to retreat to? Do they seek higher ground? It’s all a mystery. I can’t believe that Max has not rescued one yet and brought him in from the rain. He would rescue it, wouldn’t he? Rather than torment the poor thing?

    • linniew says:

      Hey Roberta!
      First I very happily refer readers to your post about poo-gliders so they will be in the know about this essential winter chicken maintentance equipment. (And you see now why I immediately worried about your SOCKS.) Regarding the Brick People, I have observed that the vertical stems showing at the top of the water are actually the upper ends of snorkels, so clearly the Brick People have some kind of emergency gear just for situations like this. I imagine little scuba suits, and sealed supplies, deep beneath the bricks. And yes, Max is trained to assist Brick People and hardly ever eats them.

  5. At the risk of raining on your parade, I’m wondering if the Marsh Marigold might actually be evil in disguise? I thought I had wild Marsh Marigolds at my old house only to discover they were evil buttercups instead. Take a look at http://www.nps.gov/plants/alien/fact/rafi1.htm to see what you think…

    • linniew says:

      Dear Peggy,
      OMG I may be harboring evil buttercups!!
      I will be doing extensive research today and will report back about this crisis. I mean CRISIS. (Boy they sure ACT like something evil.) I have recently studied under a real researcher, (Fay,) (who even has a whole wardrobe of white lab coats) and I will be doing careful research, having learned about that in my by-now-likely-intergalactically-famous Neep study. My eternal thanks to you Peggy for alerting me to this dreadful plant that has quite possibly lied its way into my innocent garden!

      • I think you’re harbouring lesser celandines (ranunculus ficaria) Linnie. I didn’t like to tell you as they are a pain to get rid off. They shoot their seeds about and also little bits of the tuberous roots break off in the soil and up they come again. There is a cultivars which are better behaved called…wait for it… “Brazen Hussy”!
        Anyway seemingly they were used for treating piles in the past. You needed to know that, didn’t you?

        • linniew says:

          HARBOURING? (Or HARBORING? –to translate for U.S. readers) That sounds very bad Janet. And let me just say right now that I am innocent. I was actually GIVEN this plant by a sweet little old lady who grew them in her garden. But she is dead now. Oh-oh…

          Piles? Maybe they can remove piles of dead spirea branches that have appeared around here recently…

          • Are you casting aspersions on my spelling?
            I think celandines are very attractive when they carpet a bit of woodland. It’s only if you don’t want them that they difficult to remove, like in the middle of you veg patch…

            • linniew says:

              Gosh, “casting aspersions” really makes me think of fly fishing…

              Janet my dear, I have followed the Lesser Celandine through the depths of the internet(s) and I can tell you that their DNA seriously lacks a personal boundary gene! Really, there are online photographs of ACRES of this plant, obstructing native plants (and short dogs) with their early and quick spring growth, stealing all light and nutrients, covering the banks of streams on both sides, blanketing woodlands and allowing nothing else to grow. In short, your first comment was right on the money and I thank you for the rescue plus I think in future I will call them all “Brazen Hussy” because it is appropriate and also quite fun to say.

  6. Alberto says:

    Lovely Terrier Palustris there!
    If you are worried I could send you an italian drunk captain with a ship to save you… Or you could ask Tillie if she has a spare boat, it is the same…
    Did you start gathering couples of animals and cuttings from the garden?

  7. Hi Linnie, I like that Marsh Marigold … it looks cute!
    You can send us some of your rain – having a heat wave here 🙂

    • linniew says:

      Maybe we could lay a water pipeline, connected by way of a space station– Marsh Marigold is under investigation today for its possible crime family connections.

  8. kininvie says:

    Hi Linnie, I know just how you feel. Just add in some strong winds and the occasional frost and it could be Scotland.. I see Alberto has knitted Tillie a balaclava. I don’t know where he gets the time.

  9. b-a-g says:

    Linnie – relieved to read that those are snorkels. It’s probably not such a bad thing that the weather stands between you and the garden, it’s mother nature’s way of protecting the plants (& bathing the spirea’s wounds).

  10. Spectra says:

    Oh, my! Those Marsh Marigolds look familiar – we get those here briefly in spring, but only on the water-soaked island in my creek, out back. They literally cover the entire island with their carpet of sunny yellow-ness. Then, they just inexplicably disappear… I look forward to their reapearance again this early spring 🙂

    So, what’s to become of Garden Mad???

    • linniew says:

      OK Spectra you just keep those yellow terrorists on that island and don’t let them off. (See SPECIAL follow-up REPORT I just added on this blog post OMG you will be horrified.)

  11. We have had strange weather as well…sun, snow, ice, rain. And I think sun and warm temperatures are due for next week. I really like the photo of the terrier in the marsh marigolds…lovely!

    • linniew says:

      Dear Butterfly
      Sometimes we gardeners make tiny mistakes. Like when I let that old gardener give me a plant of marsh marigolds which are indeed actually Lesser Celandine otherwise known as BAD NEWS. But they are kind of pretty.

  12. kininvie says:

    Don’t even think about digging celandine – it’s the quickest way to spread it further. And you will get hot, and annoyed, and then take it out on some innocent shrub. Leave it, or hand weed individual bits that really upset you. Plus, composting it is probably a bad idea unless you can guarantee that nothing will survive the intense heat inside the plastic compost bin…..

    • linniew says:

      Dear Kininvie!
      How can you suggest that I would abuse a shrub because of some slight frustration from digging? And please do keep in mind that I don’t own all those sharp chainsaws and power washers and cabers and things that furnish your garden shed. I will, as you say, “hand weed” these plants, with just a bit of help from my old shovel–and if the composter doesn’t get hot enough I have a blowtorch.

  13. You definitely have one of the worst invasives: Ranunculus ficaria or lesser celandine. The fact that they go dormant after blooming does not stop their thick cover of nodule like roots from killing off any native plant that preceded them to the site. I have a quarter acre of this plant which snuck up from my stream while I wasn’t looking and have been trying to keep it out of the rest of my garden for years. you can’t just decide not to deal with it because eventually it will cover the whole garden. I don’t believe in poisons, but they don’t work on lesser celandine anyway. You can get rid of it by digging, but you must remove the whole plant and all the soil around and under it (all is bold and underlined three times). Place the whole shovelful in a plastic garbage bag and place it with your trash—think toxic waste.

    • linniew says:

      Good grief. A QUARTER ACRE? This is frightening. I get the message and okay I won’t try to compost it. Toxic waste. I believe the trash around here is incinerated, so that should do it. I know this will take more than one season’s effort–and I have this nagging inclination to call in the National Guard.

  14. Bridget Foy says:

    Join the club, we too live on a hill. It has it’s advantages…we never get flooded.

  15. Aimee says:

    Holy bazookas. Tilly makes for one foreboding sea captain. I hope for your sake the rains stop soon.

    I was *this* close to picking up a bunch of free, lovely, splendid yellow-buttercup-like flowers advertised here on FreeCycle…fortunately they included the name of the plant : Lesser Celandine. All it took was a short amount of research to hear the horror stories and be warned away. Innocent looking little thing, though, isn’t it? Good luck with the hand-pulling. Too bad Max and Tilly can’t help.

    • linniew says:

      Oh Wise Aimee, to forgo the Evil Lesser Celandine…And I assure you that Max will indeed help–no digging occurs around here without Max helping. Tillie, on the other hand, will indeed be useless.

  16. Hang on, hang on! You are about to destroy a lovely expanse of lesser celandine? Bright flowers when flowers are few. Die down after flowering. Why? I’m lost. Maybe I didn’t read the post properly. If so. Apologies. But if I did – more explanation needed.

    Raining here. On the washing. Ah, well.’Tis winter.

    • linniew says:

      Hi Esther
      Yes the flowers are early and pretty. But this plant is truly invasive. In the wild it becomes wall-to-wall, blocking all native plants. In the garden it spreads endlessly in a thick mat and pops up all over the place from seed too. I will make do with waiting for the yellow of the daffodils!

      Too bad about the wet washing…

  17. Alistair says:

    Linnie, the lesser celandine (nee marigold) is in our woodland area, I used to think it was some type of Winter aconite. It seems to behave reasonably well, or maybe it is taking care as it knows me so well. Whats wrong with me, I am feeling sorry for the brick people, they cant breath, several have found reeds to help them cling on. Never mind the sight of Tillie is always heart warming.

    • linniew says:

      Hi Alistair
      In my experience the lesser celandine takes some time to get going. I’ve had the plant for probably fifteen years, and only in the last four or five has it got my attention as it took over the bed where I had planted it. Now it’s popping up everywhere.

      Yes the Brick People are a worry. But they endure, so I feel certain they have contingency plans for disasters like the flooding. In this case there was high ground nearby so perhaps some of them simply evacuated for a while. The water is all down now so the threat is over…

  18. Carolyn had the right of this…how’s that removal of this toxic waste going for you? I hope when you feel murderous you are taking it out on this”Lesser Evil” rather than hapless spirea? BTW, when dealing with invasives I have typically found there is a peculiarity to their offense that can be used to decimate. Possible in this case as they are spring ephemerals, boiling water, repeatedly as seeds sprout. Or possibly boiling water followed by deep cardboard composting suffocation (which you seem to be fond of). Too bad they are not shrubs…

    • linniew says:

      Well I do my best, violence-wise. Of course the little pushies are still around in few numbers, but I’m on to them. Ground is wet, shovel is available. But I do see the virtue of carboard and yes, that is in my arsenal now and may just be put to use again here!

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