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Star of Bethlehem (God, Help Me)

Last week I told you about my tendency to stray from my shopping list while at the garden center. Thanks for all your comments; I'm glad to know I'm in good company with my mish-mash garden. I'm in the midst of expanding my perennial border to hold more plants; I spent a good part of last Saturday ripping up more lawn and trying to clear one very dastardly weed out of the way.


(Note—this photo isn't of my yard—I didn't think to take a "before" picture when I started weeding. But it looked a lot like this. Image source.)

Star of Bethlehem (Ornithogalum umbellatum)—I noticed it last spring, our first spring in this house, and since there really wasn't much interesting in the yard at that point, I let it grow and bloom. Just one little clump down by the sidewalk. It seemed so pretty, delicate, harmless. A grassy little plant with five or six white-and-green flowers waving in the breeze. A nice surprise.

Fast forward to this spring. Boom! Surprise! Our front lawn is a galaxy of star of Bethlehem. Big clumps, little clumps, here, there, everywhere. I've read that it only spreads by offsets (it's a bulb), but it must spread by seed, too, because these plants are so far from the original clump. Or maybe they were there last year but I mowed them before they had a chance to bloom?

Well in any case a big portion of lawn and all the star of Bethlehem have got to go, to make room for more garden. So Saturday afternoon I chipped away at it. Wow, its bulbs are deep! And when you finally get to them, you find one big bulb with a billion little baby bulbs surrounding it. I tried hard not to let even the tiniest (I'm talking smaller than a seed bead) little bulb slip back into the earth, because I'm sure it would grow and multiply by next spring. Even still, I know this will be a drawn-out battle, because I was not able to get the bulb and roots in a few places—the stems just snapped off before I could dig down. I'm really not one to swear, but I found myself thinking it's a strange coincidence that its initials are SOB.

What is your worst weed? Tell us about your battle.

Oh—and please don't be charmed by star of Bethlehem!