The Invasives Have to Go

Yes, there has been a change over the years in my gardening philosophy.  Beautiful isn’t enough.  Well-behaved is required.  My phlox have failed miserably in the well-behaved category.  They have been expanding and had now gone well beyond acceptable.  Note I said ‘were’ as I have literally spent days extracting them from my large garden.  The seeds had landed everywhere and anywhere.  Worse yet, it wasn’t enough to just remove the phlox themselves, I often had to lift other plants to remove the phlox that had entwined with their roots.    No more.


Apparently the phlox had friends with the same bad habits.  The folks who told us Chocolate Joe Pye Weed wasn’t invasive lied.  Plain old lied.  From now on, if I am at a garden club sale or a private sale and there is a lot of one type of plant, it is NOT coming home with me. 

My mantra over the last few years has been to head towards lower maintenance.  Sure, there are some areas of the garden that are worth the work, like the dahlias.  But others, well, not so much.  Take Star of Bethlehem, for example.  Actually, you can’t take it from my yard as it too is going, going, soon to be gone.  That one snuck by as the leaves look so much like grape hyacinth. Fortunately they are small bulbs near the surface. So even though the clumps are large, removal is easier.

Star of Bethlehem blooming in May

Moral of the story – If the plant is invasive, don’t subject yourself to it.  We’ve certainly tried.  We had gooseneck loosestrife at one point.  Because after all, its not as invasive as regular loosestrife, and we can handle it. Ya, right. I had to dig deep for those long runners years after I’d removed the plants.  I literally had to remove and replant the Euonymus bushes in the photo below to get to the loosestrife roots, and after several years, I finally seem to have succeeded.

Gooseneck Loosestrife in Eunoymus

The good news – I get to go shopping for replacements.  More likely flowering shrubs and bushes.  There are some beauties out there.  I’ve also gotten in the habit of researching a plant before it comes home.  I can Google it on my phone if I’m far enough away that I won’t want to make a second trip.  If the plant is from a local nursery though, I’m going home to do a thorough research job before I accidently bring another thud into the garden.

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