After working in the garden this afternoon for several hours I feel like talking - calmly, serenely - I promise no screaming or shouting - about plants that annoy me. Specifically plants in my own garden.
Plants I - we - have added with every good intention.
Lets start with a common misunderstanding that I think often happens.
Picture this - You're at the nursery. You've seen a plant which you think you now love and must have. You decide to inquire with a Nursery Worker concerning where you might locate said plant. Nursery Worker looks at you - perhaps out of the corner of their eye. Perhaps with a slightly odd, questioning glance. Then the Nursery Worker proceeds to say something like: "That plant likes to spread."
You are not daunted by that information at all. For you are a seasoned gardener. You've been around the garden bed a few times yourself after all. You can handle a "plant that likes to spread." In fact, you prefer them. The more the merrier, you think. "Free plants" is the main thought that enters your frugal head.
Off to the register you sail with three specimens of your prize.
Let's check what really happened. The Nursery Worker was being polite. What she/he really wanted to say was, "I wouldn't touch that plant with a ten foot pole. It will wreck havoc in your garden. You will rue the day you ever laid eyes on it. It will live and thrive in your garden long after you are dead. Run. Run and never look back."
But Nursery Workers are not paid to tell us the truth. Or perhaps "That plant likes to spread" is their code for "No, no, no, not ever!"
(I work in a deli. What do people think I mean when I say, "That's not my favorite salad?")
Onto my list:
1. Euphorbia myrsinites (Myrtle Spurge, also known as Creeping Spurge or "donkey tail")
It's a pretty plant, I'll give it that. And it pulls up fairly easily. If it would just stay put!
But that will never happen.
Let's take a look at it in my garden.
Here it is looking nice and pretty and innocent.
Now let's see it strangling our cacti.
That's right. There are cactus plants under that mess.
2. Euphorbia cyparissias 'Fens Ruby'
*sigh* Fens Ruby. Such a pretty name. And an attractive little plant, too.
Here it is with some creeping phlox.
And here it is with some greggi tulips.
Seems OK, right?
It's EVERYWHERE now.
Looking at this photo I could almost like Fens Ruby again.
I might as well.
It's not going anywhere soon.
3. Goldenrod 'Solidago L.'
I don't know if I can describe how much I now hate this plant. Because it refuses to die.
We haven't resorted to any lethal poisons because there are so many plants near it we want to keep, including a stand of aspens.
We've dug it up. We've pulled it up.
It wouldn't be so bad if it just kept coming back up in the same spot. But it's spreading all over the garden. And I don't know how it's managing to push itself up in every little spot it can find.
Here is what it used to look like. (not my photo)
Here is what I'm constantly pulling up now.
I hate it.
Let's move on.
4. I have a love/hate relationship with Golden Hop Vine (Humulus lupulus 'Aureus').
We bought it to provide a screen on the back porch.
It certainly does that.
But it likes, loves, to spread around. All around. Everywhere.
I'm always pulling up baby hop vines. And the adult plant is loaded with little tiny stickers. Not pleasant to wrestle with. Which it constantly needs because it grows so darn fast.
I've heard it referred to as a "garden thug".
For now we're keeping it.
5. Hollyhocks, alcea.
What's not to like?
Well, I do like them.
That's why I put up with them.
But they also like to spread. And that spreading wouldn't be so bad if they weren't so deep rooted. I don't like hollyhocks growing in the front of my garden beds. They're too tall. Digging them up is the only option when they land in an unwanted area.
6. Morning glory, Convolvulaceae
Love them. That's why I put up with them reseeding like crazy.
I spend, well, not hours, but plenty of time, sitting in one of the garden paths pulling up little seedlings that land where they don't belong.
But I'm willing to do so because I love the look of a morning glory vine. They really are 'glorious' in bloom.
7. And finally, Nigella, Love in a Mist.
I really wouldn't want to be without these wonderful annual reseeders. I'm actually glad they reseed so freely. Just wish they wouldn't do it in the paths.
Oh well. At least they come up easily.
I'm sure there are those gardeners who will look at my list of annoying plants and laugh. For one reason or another. Perhaps they were just as foolish at one time. Or perhaps they'll chuckle because they avoided such certain disaster and consider themselves older and wiser now. Or it's possible they will peruse my list and say, "I've never had a problem with that!"
Anything is possible, after all, and it's a big world, with different hardiness zones and levels of precipitation.
Do you have any annoying plants in your garden or are you Mr/Ms Zen and love them all equally?