Ground elder is the bane of my gardening life. It's everywhere in this garden. I don't use chemicals (although Lucius puts them on his croquet lawn), so we either have to mow it to destruction, or pull it by hand, which means getting every last little bit of white root, or else it springs to life again in a depressingly vigorous manner. It is, as any British gardener will tell you, a losing battle.
However, on the principle that a weed is merely a plant in the wrong place, I have learnt to love ground elder, just a little, so that I don't fall into despair. And these are the reasons: the Romans introduced it into England because of its pretty ornamental leaf (yes, it IS pretty, but so invasive that that's easy to forget); Wikipedia says you can use it to treat gout and arthritis; and because it is good in a salad.
Yes, salad. You should look for young leaves, and add them to your salad (cheaper than one of those expensive supermarket pillow packs, and even more ubiqitous). It has an interesting taste - a little like dandelion without the sharpness; on the way to sorrel without the lemony-ness, and so responds well to a dressing made with lemon juice. It wilts pretty quickly, but I find that is true of almost all the soft salad leaves that grow in this garden.
There's just one thing you should know, particularly at this time of year. According to Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, it becomes strongly laxative once it has flowered. But, as I say, you need to look for fresh young growth to put in your salad bowl.
I'm ashamed to say that some of mine has been in the ground so long that it has just come into flower, rather a pretty and delicate white flower. So now I'm going to pick it and see what sort of vase life it has. Who knows, I may start really loving it!
This is my entry for Weekend Herb Blogging, hosted this time by Astrid at Paulchen's Food Blog
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