Day 76: ground elder

Daily details from the garden to bring you inspiration throughout the year


The emerging leaves of this humble relative of the carrot are enough to strike fear into the heart of many a gardener. Ground elder, or goutweed (Aegopodium podagraria) has a reputation as a tricky, invasive customer, and it’s true that it has the ability to regenerate from the tiniest broken section of its far-reaching root system. In my experience, it’s not as fearsome as you might think, and most patches are under control within a season or two. Hand weeding – tricky, but possible on heavy soils – is the answer – though on large communities I’ve even taken to regularly strimming it to weaken its reserves. As a last resort, you can always eat it – perhaps if we grew it as veg, as the Romans did, we’d be grateful for its persistence.

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Hello! I’m Andrew, gardener, writer, photographer, and owner of a too-loud laugh, and I’m so pleased you’ve found your way to Gardens, weeds & words. You can read a more in-depth profile of me on the About page, or by clicking this image.