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What to do!

I've just moved to a new house and to my utter horror, the backgarden is overrun with (i) mint; (ii) borage or comfrey (not sure which).  The mint I'm trying to dig little by little (and mercifully is coming out, though we'll see whether new seedlings emerge from my digging).  

However, I'm completely bewildered as to what to do with the borage or comfrey (I'm not sure which it is to be honest).  It is nettle like (and you need to use gloves when dealing with it), the roots are extremely deep and thick, (and I've not remotely got to the roots of the plants when digging) and has blue / purple flowers.  I'm so sorry for the number of questions I have here but here goes:

(1) The borage / comfrey (whatever it is) seems very invasive but with all my digging I cannot get at the root.  What should I do, and will they continue to grow?  I've read some websites encouraging these plants for the bees, but it is taking over the whole garden!  

(2) I've also put some into my compost -- yet I've read that some allotments strictly forbid comfrey into their compost because it will infect the whole lot and come up again.  Should I sift through all my compost (!!!) and get as much of this out?

I've already clipped all the flowering buds to ensure it doesn't self seed any further (which, unfortunately has done so everywhere in the garden).  I suppose I'll simply need to hoe these small plants and hope the plant gets exhausted and dies eventually.

When we moved into this place the previous owners said they planted a 'wild flower garden' - little did I know it was a euphemism for 'letting it run amok' with invasive plants!!!!


  • Yikes that doesn't inspire too much hope!!  I've done some research tonight - I think the plant is green alkanet and from what I read, it is really difficult to dig out the root.  

    How do you garden 'alongside' the invasive mint?

  • If it has blue flowers and is a bit prickly it's likely to be Borage. Cutting off the buds "should" eventually kill it as it's generally grown as a sefl-seeding annual.

    Comfrey, makes a great fertilizer. If you cut down the leaves, chop them up, put them in a container (bucket etc.), cover with water, put a couple of bricks on top and leave to ferment - not the best of aromas so be warned image

    With management they can both be good plants to keep.

    Mint - hmmm .. just keep digging it out image

  • ThejazzThejazz Posts: 20

    I managed to dig up borage (I notice they are selling it as a salad plant in waitrose) and fingers crossed it hasn't returned. As for the mint, just find a good Mojito recipe. You will find it difficult to kill off completely.


  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 54,860

    Sara just click on the blue quote window - bottom right corner of the post you want to quote- (it appears when you hold the cursor over the area) then click on the 'quote' marks at right end of the toolbar on your own message window. It'll transfer to the start of your message. You can take out a bit out of it too if you only want to quote a bit of it.

    Hope that makes sense! image

    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 30,016

    If you have a strimmer, take off all the top growth of the comfrey/borage/whatever and remove and compost it.    Pick as much mint as you can easily preserve either frozen or as dried mint or mint sauce.   You can then apply a solution of glyphosate when new foliage emerges.  This will be taken by the leaves to the roots and will kill them.   You need to wait till the new leaves are a decent size to absorb the product and you may need to apply several times.

    Adding a couple of drops of washing up liquid to the solution will help it stick to the foliage and you need to spray it on a dry day with at least 6 hours of no rain and preferably some sun.   It takes about 2 weeks to work but you will then need to be patient and wait for signs of regrowth before you risk digging over the ground as any surviving roots will simply propagate themselves.   Allow yourself the rest of this season to deal thoroughly with the problem and reduce risk of reinvasion that will be a nightmare to remove form any new plants you grow.

    Be careful not to let the spray touch any plants you wish to keep and don't let it get in any water features.

    Vendée - 20kms from Atlantic coast.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • Thank you so much for your replies and advice!!  Really appreciate the feedback. It's helped me not to completely despair!  I guess it will be a bit of time before I can plant my favourite plants in the bed... they'll just have to live in the pots for awhile image.  I also have discovered a blackberry bush (yet another invasive plant).  Should I also try and dig this out?  I like blacberries to eat, but also have heard firsthand stories of it taking over the garden...  

    Why oh why do people do this to their garden voluntarily?!

  • nutcutletnutcutlet Posts: 27,423

    I'd wait and taste the blckberries PP. some aren't worth keeping. the extend by making long shoots which touch down and root. Don't let them

    In the sticks near Peterborough
  • PurplePoppy wrote (see)

    Why oh why do people do this to their garden voluntarily?!

    Unfortunately enthusiasm beats common sense for all of us sometimes image  but there are a lot of people who garden without reasearch or reading a book/looking on the web, or even reading the label on the plant! Also people move houses. Your plants sound like at some point there may have been a gardener living there, but after that....? I left a lovely garden which I have heard since has "gone a bit wild".

    I have Borage growing in mine. I also have a patch of Nettles - for butterflies and fertiliser - and some Wild Garlic - for insects - but I keep them under control (sort of image)

    I'm currently fighting with next door's Blackberry image


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