I am in Scotland and my garden was landscaped just over a year ago. At that time the soil and plants in my flower beds were brought in for the first time, before that there was just grass everywhere.

In the first summer, things were fine. Now this year the plants are doing well but several areas of flower beds in different parts of the garden are completely overrun by some kind of weed.

I weeded it by hand about a month ago, taking care to get everything out including the roots, however it has immediately came back again as bad as ever.

Here are some pictures, appreciate any advice!

enter image description here

enter image description here

enter image description here

  • The answer you've been given is entirely correct. A hoe is going to be your best friend at this time of year, if you don't want to weed every seedling out by hand... hoe them up, but in spring, you will need to actually remove the seedlings when they appear, hoeing and leaving them on top of the soil won't necessarily destroy the roots. Aim to hoe every couple of weeks till winter, and again from spring next year. The first couple of years will be the worst!
    – Bamboo
    Commented Sep 4, 2017 at 22:41
  • They look like they might be violets. Commented Sep 4, 2017 at 23:26
  • Ginty, do they make Scottish poo poo via mankind into mulch over there? The soil is FULL of weed seed. Doesn't matter what weeds they are, you need to find a DECOMPOSED organic mulch. This stuff put down a good 2inches will stop growth of these weed seeds. The best mulch is human poo mixed with sawdust and completely decomposed. Smells wonderful, texture is fine, dark taupe color, no weed seeds and no pesticide residue. Let me know if this is available in Scotland (hey, I have lots of Scot in me)...seriously, this is the best mulch in the world. Feeds the soil and snuffs weeds!
    – stormy
    Commented Sep 5, 2017 at 6:11
  • Do you guys have 'hula hoes'? A hoe that looks like a square that is open in the middle and when drawn across the top of young weeds does an incredible job of killing weeds. Gotta find a blanket though to stop weed seeds from germinating and no, plastic is not allowed! Call your sewer utility in your town to see if they make this mulch. I swear by it. My customers had to agree or find someone else. Not for vegetable gardens because of heavy metals. Please let me know. This stuff will solve all problems!
    – stormy
    Commented Sep 5, 2017 at 6:16
  • Dutch hoe we call them, the type useful for this, not the same as a hula hoe, but similar - as for mulch, temporary fix - this soil is chock full of these seeds waiting to germinate for the next few years, the first two being the worst
    – Bamboo
    Commented Sep 5, 2017 at 11:07

3 Answers 3


You have hairy bittercress (Cardamine hirsuta) in your garden. This plant very often comes as "hitchhiker" with newly bought plants.

It is a very prolific seeder and can bring even two generations in one year, the first in spring, when the overwintering plants set seeds, one in late summer, like you are observing now.

The main problem is actually interesting: bittercress plants can "shoot" the seeds out of their seed pods and spread them out in up to a meter distance from the parent plant. So if you let just a few plants go to seed, you can get a "carpet" of weeds in no time.

Control depends on your preferences. As bittercress doesn't form a dense root structure and doesn't grow back from tiny particles left in the ground (like bindweed, for example) hand weeding or hoeing works well and the flat rosettes are easily smothered with mulch. But you want to make sure you pull the plants before they start to set seeds and you need to find all of them if ever possible. Alternatively, chemical options are available.

You might also find this article from the RHS interesting.


Sorry my friend but this is going to take knee pads, time and patience. Good luck

  • This should be a comment....
    – J. Chomel
    Commented Sep 6, 2017 at 8:01

Ground ivy, also known as creeping charlie. Use a weed killer that won't harm your lawn.

  • 1
    Sorry, but it's not Glechoma hederacea (creeping charlie). They do look similar on first glance, but where creeping charlie has single heart- or kidney-shaped leaves with a scalloped edge (crenate), bittercress has odd-pinnate (multiple leaflets on one stem) leaves with the one the tip a lot larger than the others, so they can be easily overlooked if one doesn't look carefully (or enlarges the picture quite a bit).
    – Stephie
    Commented Sep 6, 2017 at 5:05

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.