I have recently become a ‘gardener’ – don’t get me wrong – I’ve been a ‘Landscape Architect’ for years …. but it’s only recently that I’ve started ‘gardening’. I’m out there getting my hands dirty, digging holes and watching what plant relationships work within my own space. What works, what grows quickly, what struggles…and what dominates.
This has given me a whole new take on the ‘invasive’ nature of certain plants.
This does flag up a pretty major flaw in my training and in my design abilities. In the past I’ve chosen plants for colour of leaf, colour of foliage, colour of stem – size, growth, deciduous, conifer shade loving, sun loving, north facing, south facing etc… etc.. but I’ve never really given an awful lot of attention to a plants ability to dominate a particular environment.
One of my favorite ground covers used to be ‘Polygonum affine Darjeeling red’ – then I began to notice that though this particular plant was very good at covering the space in which it was planted ….it was also pretty good at filling the spaces in which it wasn’t planted…
This particular Polygonum isn’t a native but it was probably the first time I noticed plants bullying their neighbors.
With my new ‘gardening’ head on I’ve now come across a whole host of other problem plants within a few feet of my door.
- Ivy covers the front of my house, the front of my house plus the side of my house, the roof of my house and if you stand near it long enough…. probably it would cover me too.
- Ground elder – bloody ground elder…. you can pull it out to your hearts content but it still comes back
- Crocosmia – a gift from my mother – thanks mum – I’ve been trying to get rid of it ever since you gave it to me
- Ash trees – ‘ash die back’ may be a problem in certain areas of the country… but not in my garden – I’ve never known a sapling that is some six inches tall that is as strong as bloody wire…you can pull this with all your might and it just laughs at you
- Buddleja – the butterfly bush – should be named the bush from hell – cut it, hack it down – still comes back with a lovely crop of flowers and fresh seed….
It’s useful to be a bit more hands on with these type of issues.
For years I’ve been obsessed with invasive non-native species but, maybe, I’m missing a trick here?
Maybe I need to look a bit closer to home and start dealing with the invasive native and ornamental species that cause gardeners so many issues.
I’m pretty sure if I can sort an answer to ground elder then I will be a millionaire!