Convolvulus sabatius – Blue Rock Bindweed

Bindweed, friend or fiend, discuss.

I had three encounters with bindweed today.  Firstly I watched a bee visiting the flowers of the Hedge Bindweed, Calystegia sepium.  This thug is doing a fine job of rolloping through the long grass above the greenhouse and was making me slightly anxious as to how much of a free hand this area should be having.  So this sight reminded me why we allow this area to remain wild and encourage insects and birds into the garden.  In the warmth of the afternoon, I spent an hour attempting to remove the Field Bindweed, Convolvulus arvensis, that has moved in and made itself at home on the herbaceous borders.  And it was a happy half hour.  I love this job, carefully tracing the roots down, teasing them through the soil in an attempt to extract as much as possible.  It is not the case of “if” these brittle roots break but “when” and I enjoy the thrill of the chase in the knowledge that I will never win.  Lastly I passed by this delicate version of our native flowers, Blue Rock Bindweed or Convolvulus sabatius.  It is native to Southern Europe and North Africa and is not surprisingly tender.  Every year it gets decimated by the frost and we fear the worst, but so far it has recovered each time.  It is happiest in full sun with well-drained soil and forms a dense mat, where in our case it intertwines with the dastardly cymbalaria and masks rogue dandelions which from time to time pop up their sunny heads.  The funnel-shaped lilac blue flowers are produced continually until it is nipped by the weather.  It makes an excellent rockery plant, roots will appear from the stem where ever they find a modicum of soil allowing it to travel very effectively.

So all in all, I think the verdict is whilst not always a “friend”, perhaps not the complete fiend.


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