[gardeners] Weeds, ain't they sumpin!

Liz Albrook (gardeners@globalgarden.com)
Fri, 17 Jul 1998 10:51:14 +0000

Wow, do I have weeds!  One of the perennial favorites here is field 
bindweed -- a ubiquitous vine with elongated, heart-shaped leaves and 
ever so pale pink, small, morning glory shaped flowers.  Now, 
according to one of the Field Guides to Weeds in Your Garden there 
exist another dozen or so bindweeds, one of which is called Coastal 
Bindweed.  Coastal bindweed is just like field bindweed except 1) 
it's not as bad because the vines aren't as long, 2) it's a good 
deal prettier because the blossoms are medium pink and white 
bicolors, and 3) it occurs in more humid, coastal climates from WA 
through OR down into CA.

I don't know whether I should be delighted or ashamed to report that 
coastal bindweed is thriving in the border by the house.  I am 
astonished to find it there and even more astonished to find that it 
is hardier than common field bindweed.  Weeds -- such adaptable 

One thing I noticed last year and have confirmed this year is that 
field bindweed is a powdery mildew host.  It isn't affected in the 
slightest by PM but PM simply loves it.  Any plant that the bindweed 
comes in contact with that is susceptible to PM gets a bad case of 
it.  I suspect that the bindweed sneezes on the desirable plant and 
that's the method of transmission.  A bourbon rose in the garden is 
now being eaten by PM transmitted to it by a bindweed sneeze.  The 
bindweed is growing strongly, or was until I pulled it, but the rose 
has certainly slowed down a good bit.

Where was I?  Oh, yes, coastal bindweed.  Now this prettier, shorter 
bindweed is resistant to powdery mildew.  Completely unaffected by 
it.  I hope that the coastal bindweed makes milquetoast of the field 
bindweed soon.  Then it can have a shot at the china lettuce that is 
currently sprouting in a checkerboard pattern of roughly 3 inch 
squares around the pool in amongst the river rock.  One thing of 
beauty -- some sort of wild sunflower type plant -- is blooming at 
the head of the pool.  Very pretty.  So some good does come from not 
weeding.  And I noticed that there's quite a bit of vetch growing in 
what used to be the veggie garden and is now the most dangerous place 
on earth.  Guess it'll be well nitrogenated for next year unless the 
red root pigweed sucks it all this fall.

Thank goodness it's so hot -- otherwise I'd feel compelled to weed.

One other thing -- Marcelle, bless her, sent me a most remarkable 
ground cover.  It, too, has morning glory shaped flowers only these 
are hot pink with yellow centers.  Trust me that it's much prettier 
than I just made it sound.  It's now a monster plant -- about a yard 
or so across -- and simply lovely.  When it didn't get watered it 
browned out and then sprouted back covered with green after it got a 
small drink.  Amazing stuff -- it's crowded out *both* bindweeds.