Not sure which plants are weeds to pull out of your garden space? Read on!

What are weeds?

Simply, ‘plants in the wrong place’. More complicated, ‘a wild plant growing where it is not wanted and in competition with cultivated plants’. That definition assumes ‘wild’ plants are not being cultivated. But sometimes they are.  I cultivate 'wild' foxgloves and cow parsley at the back of my garden space. Their flowers are a delight. Quickly pull up the seedlings you don't want and these lovely plants are kept in check.

If 'weeds are plants in the wrong place', one gardener’s weed is another’s favourite wildflower. And all you need to know about weeds is which plants you don’t want in your garden space. They are your weeds!

Some weeds are always weeds?

Not always! The pretty, invasive, and never to be rid of, buttercup, when potted and labelled a wild flower seems to sell like hot cakes. And you know about my foxgloves and cow parsley.

None the less, I have pulled out seven (excuse the pun!) weeds that are unwelcome in most gardens. When you recognise your weeds, find out more and how to remove them.

Seven least loved weeds


Lesser celandine (Ranunculus ficaria) has pretty, glossy  heart shaped leaves growing close to the ground. It is covered in bright yellow, star shaped, flowers. So pretty you could mistake it for a chosen plant, until celandines take over your beds and borders.

Creeping buttercups (Ranunculus repens) are similar to lesser celandine. You know their bright butter yellow, bowl-shaped flowers. They are so cheerful that they tempt you to let them grow. Be warned: take control before they cover your entire garden space.

Couch grass (Elymus repens) is a weed with attitude. It smothers a plant and border before lunch! Long white roots go deep into the ground and tangle into the roots of other plants. Beware: when you pull up the leaves and break the roots, each piece of root can grow into a sturdy new plant.



Hairy bitter cress (Cardamine hirsute) and its cousin wavy bittercress (C. flexuosa) are a nuisance in beds, borders, paths and containers. Pull up the neat rosettes of leaves before they flower and scatter seeds as soon as you touch them.

Bindweed. There are two varieties of this weed too. Hedge bindweed (Calystegia sepium) can smother a shrub or climber with glossy green leaves and white trumpet-shaped blooms before tea. Field bindweed (Convolvulus arvensis) is smaller with pretty pink and white flowers. It smothers plants at or near ground level. Neither are good for your garden. Pull them out as soon as you see them.


Wood avens (geum urbanum) is the weed my friend always questions. It can be confused with pretty (and pricey) cultivated ‘geums’ except that it is tougher and grows any and everywhere, and not where you would have planted a geum. Dig it out carefully - it will grow again from pieces of root left in the soil.

Not sure if your ‘weeds’ are any of those?

There are many photo galleries of common wildflowers (weeds to some of us) on the internet. I like the clear photos on this one. And for more information about your weeds, this site is a useful resource.