"Plants To Grow Old With" or "The Constant Battle"
By S. Johnson
The following are a few paragraphs about the on going battle I had with some of my plants!
Way back when I was just starting to garden I excitedly gathered starts from here and there, and several times, when I asked people for a particular start, they, with raised eyebrow, would ask me if I was sure I wanted that plant as it could be invasive.
Naively, and just so thrilled to get a new start (I had garden fever bad Ha!), I said that wasn't a problem. Wow!
Was I ever clueless! I had a lot to learn as to just how INVASIVE some plants could be and how hard some were to kill out.
Following are a few short tales of the battles I waged with those wonderful starts I collected years ago.
Horseradish will be the first I'll mention, as it was one of the first starts I acquired. I found it to be a very worthy opponent. In some book about companion planting I read that horseradish was good to raise by potatoes, so I rushed out and found a start of it! Well, I’ve long since quit raising potatoes, but I still have a thriving supply of horseradish.
Slow spreading, but, as far as I'm concerned, impossible to get rid of. When you dig it up any tiny pieces of root that remain will start new plants. I tried covering it with black
plastic for two years and it just sent out shoots to come up in other places. I guess we will grow old together.
Wild Blackberry is the next opponent. I love blackberries, so I asked a friend who lives in the country for a start of hers.
With raised eyebrow she asked me "Are you sure you want this?” I assured her, "Oh yes, I'm going to train it to a trellis.” she just said ok with more raised eyebrows. (Are you laughing yet?) Train wild blackberry to a trellis, no such thing for me. For two years I had delicious berries but
the thorns (from Hades) ripped me to shreds, and the underground runners were sending up new shoots in my tomato patch, my carrot patch, and in my neighbors yard, to their delight and mine. NOT! The more I cut them down the more they ran. It finally took cutting them to the ground (with ripped up body parts to accomplish this) and covering them with black plastic for four years to finally kill them out.This is one battle I won!!
Mint, of which I have three varieties, is sure to be another plant that I'll grow old with.
I got the Apple mint and Lemon mint from the same friend that gave me the start of blackberry, with an even stronger reaction. She warned me how aggressive and invasive mint could be.
I purchased the Peppermint from a retailer. I was sure I could contain the mint with some mulch and some of those four-inch barriers. I planted it by the walkways in my flower and herb gardens, as I thought the fragrance that would be released, as people brushed against it would be nice. That part of my plan did work. These plants do smell good when crushed, but believe me no four-inch barrier and mulch is going to hold mint in check!
The Apple mint and the Peppermint spread by runners that just hopped over or dove under the barriers and through the mulch and ran wherever
they choose. Each year I spend considerable time pulling it up out of the flower and herbs beds. Last year I turned my back on it for a while to long (as I was distracted with this computer) and ended up taking a weed eater to it,because it had completely taken over one flower bed. Then I
had to get down and pull up the underground roots and runners. How it got into that bed is a mystery. That bed was at the opposite end of the garden. A word of warning! Any little piece of stem or root can and probably will start a new plant. The only way I would recommend raising mint is in escape proof containers. The Lemon mint self-seeds itself prolifically. I have it popping up in all the beds each spring.
Wild Passion Flower Vine, with its sweet fragrance and exotic blooms, is also one of those plants that spread by underground runners.
When I got the start to this beauty I planted it by my front porch and set a trellis so it could climb it. I thought this would be a nice place for visitors to view the lovely bloom and enjoy the sweet smell of its blossoms. The problem here was that the vine wasn't content with staying by the trellis. It comes up in the shrubs,hedges, hostas, and hibiscus. It has spread to the neighbors yard again to their delight and mine NOT! It has spread all the way around to the other side of the house. God only knows where it will show up next.
Honey Locust Tree, I can't
forget this one. This tree has lovely clusters of pinkish-lavender blooms, but it also has a devilish habit of sending underground runners that pop up just where you usually don't want them. I've dug starts out of my horseradish, iris, comphrey, thyme, etc.
Oh well, it does have lovely blooms...
About the Author
S. Johnson is the owner of Azeche Co. and creator of ShopAzeche and Let Me Outdoors. Shop Azeche and Let Me Outdoors are popular home and garden websites featuring products for every corner of your home and garden.Please visit both sites for your entire home and garden needs.