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Teazle Torment

I really shouldn't say this, but I have to - despite everything, I rather like this unkempt jungle that I'm supposed to be reclaiming - it's wild and untamed, all sorts of plants have sprung up all over the place, some initially invited to the party, now drunk and a bit thugish, whilst others have just gate-crashed.

There are many culprits, and the teazles are a perfect example - originally part of a wild flower seeding on the verge intended to provide fast food temptation for winter famished birds - they have sneaked their way all over the place - their flat basal rosettes go unnoticed until they are too big to remove - great design for survival - they hug the ground so give you nothing to grip hold of, their tap root grips the inner core of the planet with remarkable strength and the vicious little spikes puncture unprotected fingers. But there are all sorts of perks to leaving your garden to let nature do its thing. The soft mauve flowers become bee magnets in the summer and in winter, the spent seed heads which stubbornly remain long after all the green life has gone from the plant, looking like some kind of medieval torture instruments, become avine fast food restuarants (except teazles are healthy and don't lead to a generation of obese children - oooh controversial). Every now and then a gang of gold finches raid the garden, performing acrobatics on teazel heads, to gorge themselves on the seed. How do they not puncture their little feet on those wretched spikes? These Nature's Got Talent shows always stop me in my tracks. They make me smile and be glad of how lucky and alive I am.

Now I believe in trying to garden without damaging the balance of nature - chemicals are never the right answer for me. And I'm really not a fan of blow-torching plants either. And so, I need to have a bit of a cull on the teazles, if only so that I can walk bare foot across paths again. My Top Tips on chemical-free removal of those surplus plants?

- Get them while they are young

- Keep removing leaves (cruelly starving the plant to death)

Do you have any Top Tips on getting rid of tap-rooted weeds? I'd love to hear them.....

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