One of the advantages of balcony gardening is that you don't get weeds. Not having a garden means that, of necessity you're using bought - and sterilised - compost, and though the odd thing will float in on the wind, it's relatively rare. Tip the soil into your container, pop in your plants, and that's it for the season. So you get to be a bit ingenuous about weeds ...
One of the jobs I worked hardest on when I was in London in July and August was clearing and replanting the flowerbeds - I found them completely overgrown with grass and borage. I didn't even think of it as "weeding". The beds just had to be completely dug over and everything pulled out.
And then, I started planting. Bulbs galore went in, but I also scoured the local garden centres for special offers, so that I could get as much planted as possible on a budget that was rapidly being eaten up by the repairs that needed doing on the house.
So when I left at the end of August, the beds were looking - well, a bit bare, but I hoped the bulbs would take care of that. And there were new roses, pansies, lavender bushes and other things dotted around.
Two weeks later I was back. And walked into a sea of green - which certainly had nothing to do with the bulbs. The garden was covered with one particular weed, which try as I might I can't find the name of (?). I can't say I wasn't expecting it - but the speed with which it had sprung up was incredible. Plant seeds that you want to have in the garden, and after two weeks they're only just thinking of germinating. But these had just yelled Yippee! Bare soil and sprung up in their thousands. Helped along, of course, by a bit of grass and an entirely new crop of borage.
Luckily, they're a weed which is very easily dealt with. Grab a handful and pull, or hoe. They come out with no problem. So a few hours of hard work later, the beds were looking bare but pristine again. And even more luckily, they'd not had time to seed. I'm hoping that all the seeds that my August digging had brought to the surface had germinated immediately, so that I was able to get the lot in one fell swoop.
I can hear you laughing hysterically from here. No, I don't really believe it either. I'll be back in London in a few weeks time, and I'm sure I'll find the beds covered again. But if I get rid of that lot, and the next ones that come up are killed off by the winter weather, then maybe by next year things will be better. Please ...?