And of course now is the time to catch up on any weeding that has gotten away on you. In a new garden we have taken on, the dreaded wandering trad (Tradescantia fluminensis syn T. albiflora) has established itself in numerous beds. This is a dreadful weed, both in the garden and in the bush where it completely smothers all the native groundcovers and smaller shrubs. It is a menace. Not only to remnant vegetation. It seems the dog is allergic to its toxic sap. Thorough hand weeding is how we have chosen to eradicate it as it is growing in the dog’s yard and needs to be removed pronto. We also recommend that the area be replanted with some suitable alternative and mulched. Filling up a garden bed with plants you want is a great precaution against weeds.

Tradescantia fluminensis aka ‘wandering trad’ is rather pretty, but highly invasive

Nevertheless, ongoing weeding will be required as any tiny segment of the plant we leave behind will set roots and recolonise the site in no time. Make sure you dispose of the green waste responsibly. You might like to solarise the plant, which means wrap it up in a great piece of black plastic and leave it in the sun to cook to death.

It can be sprayed with herbicide, but due to the waxy surface of the leaves and stems, a wetting agent such as a bit of detergent, needs to be added to the spray if you are mixing your own brew. Don’t forget to read the instructions and be safe if you are going to use herbicides.

Hellebores take centre stage in this shady part of a country garden beneath the shade of deciduous trees

Plants that we would recommend for replacing the wandering trad are tough, vigorous ground covers that enjoy the same conditions (moist, shady places), without themselves becoming invasive. These include, Vinca minor, Trachelospermum jasminoides, Liriope muscari, Ophiopogon japonicus, Pachysandra terminalis, Ajuga reptans, Helleborus x orientalis. If you have any other tried and true weed suppressing shade-lovers, share them with us below.

Photo credit: Tradescantia fluminensis by KENPEI is licensed under GFDL,Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 2.1 Japan License