about this blog



I started this blog in 2008. It started mainly as a way of tracking the evolution of my dry garden, and that led to an interest in photography and in the creatures that live in the garden. It's still about the garden and wildlife, but now my passion is thinking about how we humans can learn to co-exist with wild animals and plants, especially in urban areas.

Monday, 15 June 2015

unloved, uninvited and unwanted



I don't mind English violets covering the soil, even though I wish they were native violets. I don't mind Euphorbia characis popping up everywhere. If I don't want the Euphorbia plant in question, it accepts the compost heap. If I want to move it, it's compliant with that too.

Plumbago sucker among violets

Wisteria sinesis, Acanthus mollis and Plumbago auricula are a different story. They just do what they want, in spite of my efforts to get rid of them, or at least control their spread. After decades of struggle, it feels like war without end. I used to think I'd won the war, only to realize I'd won a minor battle not the war. Now I'm tired of fighting and wondering if I can work out some kind of truce.


Plumbago sucker

Any gardeners reading this - if you haven't yet planted these 3 plants, learn from my suffering, and DON'T plant them. There are plenty of others that will fill the space without causing you future angst.

Wisteria sinensis. It took root, and there was a time it even produced lovely scented flowers for me. But then it grew so vigorously I was scared it would lift the roof tiles. So I cut it right back. I couldn't dig up the root ball, so got someone to put poison on it. I felt terrible about this, but war is not always pretty. It grew back in an ugly accusatory brown colour. Now I just keep it short. For a while it suckered, but thank goodness I haven't had to dig any of these up for some time.

Wisteria sinensis

Acanthus mollis and Plumbago auriculata are worse. They sucker. At this point I'd like to be poetic and make up a rhyme but I'd better not. Suckers come up all over the place, attached to tuberous underground roots that are impossible to dig up.  The job of the Plumbago is to cover the fence. When it over-reaches itself, I remove as much of it as I can. So basically I try to contain it to the fence.

The Acanthus suckers too, and insists on coming back even though I try to get rid of it. I like the statuesque leaves, so sometimes I leave it when it's near the fence. I never was good at setting limits.

Acanthus mollis

Now there's a new enemy. Something has emerged from the soil in the front garden and I'm not sure what it is. It looks green, vigorous and determined. It's not something currently growing in the garden. In the vicinity I recently grew a Romneya coulteri, but decided it was wrong and removed it. Well, I thought I removed it ...  The leaves popping out of the ground are suspiciously like Romneya leaves. It looks like the start of another war. And I'll need to drastically revise my design plans for the front garden.

Romneya coulteri?

22 comments:

  1. Hi Sue,
    Love this blog! And, I share your ... pain. I'm not familiar with the scientific names for plants or weeds. I know what a "rose" is. That's good enough for me. And scientific names for weeds ... no clue. Although some weeds are very attractive. Some I will let live and others I will hack away at like a Samurai warrior! A gardener has got to do what a gardener's got to do!
    Jane :-))

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. so pleased you love the blog, Jane. Thanks for the visit and comment. I'm sure ability to hack away and 'do what a gardener's got to do' is more important than knowing the scientific names. I try to learn them because I feel I should identify them in the blog, but it's a struggle sometimes to id and then remember their names.

      Delete
  2. Sometimes when invasives start to look like a lost cause in the eradication war, we just gotta give 'em the old poison. One of my invasives is Dollar Weed and I recently was told to try watering them down and then sprinkling with baking soda. I'm gonna try that any day now. I also wonder what would happen with baking soda and hydrogen peroxide.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Linda, Interesting experiment - I look forward to hearing how you went. I also heard that boiling water can kill weeds, but I don't know if that would deter these really tough invasive plants. I'm not familiar with Dollar Weed and hope I never make its acquaintance!

      Delete
  3. and I run around pulling up Australian brush cherry seedlings, in that window between when I can pull and when it is A TREE.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. it's crazy, while I'm battling some of your natives you're battling some of mine. What do you do when you've missed the window and it's a tree?

      Delete
  4. In our global world, we spread the plants far and wide. Fighting invasive plants is a never-ending, time-consuming chore. Good luck!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. thanks, Beth, I'm going to need all the luck I can get! And the same to you.

      Delete
  5. I'm currently enjoying my "free" Plumbago seedlings, they're great for transplanting along a lengthy fence. My nemesis is Bouganvillea, it refuses to die and has nasty, nasty weapons to fight me with.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Sue, thank goodness I never planted Bouganvillea. I hope your Plumbago behaves and stays near the fence.

      Delete
  6. Bindweed is my problem plant, it is almost impossible to get all the roots out and the tiniest bit left behind grows away as if nothing has ever been don. About every 5 yrs, we unwind it from the plants it is twinging up, put it in a plastic bag and spray, it's the only way.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Pauline, I've found that digging them out seems to be as effective as poison, but whatever we do some weeds just can't stay away!

      Delete
  7. Many plants can be a precious specimen somewhere in the world and a problematic weed somewhere else. That Acanthus mollis looks beautiful but I won't try it, you scared me. I once thought my Wisteria sinensis was dead so I removed all the roots. At least I thought I did, it just grow back stronger than before.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Denise, this post has been worthwhile if it has warned you in time not to try the Acanthus. It is beautiful, so if you want to look at it, stick a photo on the wall or in the garden instead of a live specimen! Sounds like we're both stuck with Wisteria forever.

      Delete
  8. So many plants that we think we get rid of seem to reappear. I have a battle with a few myself.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Donna, thank you for this, fellow soldier in the War Against (Plant) Terrorism.

      Delete
  9. I've spent many hours on my hands and knees digging through soil to remove roots of unwanted plants only to have them pop up again. I have anemone canadensis everywhere in my shade garden. I'll never get rid of it. It's pretty when it blooms but it suffocates everything so once the flowers are gone, I rip it out by the armfuls. But all I do it pull out the top growth. The roots are impossible to remove. Good luck with your invaders.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. thanks for this, Tammy, and good luck with your persistent invaders too.

      Delete
  10. The only success i've ever had is removing acanthus & plumbago: but you need a mattock and long crow bar to remove the deep tap roots and side shoots (and be prepared to sacrifice surrounding plants in the war). I've had no luck with wisteria...I think a bob-cat is needed for that beast!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, this is really helpful. It puts the issue into perspective - do I want to get rid of them so much I will I use these these extreme but necessary tactics? I usually try to do everything in the garden myself, but I would need someone to do it. Hmm ... thinking ...

      Delete
  11. I have not planted any of these, but I have some similarly invasive plants that I wish I had not planted....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Some mistakes that we can't predict just don't go away, I guess ...

      Delete

Popular Posts