Nasty Knapweeds

Centaurea stoebe_Spotted Knapweed_PikeNat'lForest-CO_LAH_1141rThe flowers could be considered somewhat pretty—a white or lavender tuft reminding me of cornflowers (aka bachelor’s buttons). The somewhat pretty flowers are probably the only positive aspect of these plants. A common noxious weed, knapweed is the bane of my garden.

The problem is that we live immediately adjacent to an open space, a few supposedly wild acres left by the developer (probably because it’s too steep to build on). There’s Gambel’s oak, six Ponderosa pines, a smattering of yucca, assorted wildflowers, and some rather nasty weeds.

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Tumbling Seed Spreaders

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An iconic symbol of the West, tumbleweeds conjure images of cowboys, cattle drives, and barbed wire. They even have their own song—“Tumbling Tumbleweeds” was written by Bob Nolan in the 1930s, and seems to reappear as often as the weeds for which it’s named.

Yes, we’re all familiar with tumbleweeds. But, as a result of my Colorado Master Gardener training, I have insider information that will stun, shock, and astonish you. Tumbleweeds are aliens!

Yes, it’s true. Before the Europeans stumbled across the western hemisphere, there were no tumbleweeds on the plains. Of course, there were no cowboys, either—no horses, no cattle, and no chuckwagon bean dinners. Tumbleweeds arrived, not in flying saucers, but in seed shipments from Europe and Asia.

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