Thursday, April 28, 2011

Three for Thursday: Friends Don't Let Friends ...

Plant the plants pictured without enumerating at length and in great specificity the reasons why they will eventually come to rue the day ...


For years, I considered Spiderwort Garden Enemy #1.  Look at all the bloom heads on this clump. Yes, they are indeed lovely when open.  And you couldn't ask for a more versatile native plant when it comes to growing conditions: sun, shade, dry soil, wet soil ... spiderwort doesn't seem to care.  It just adapts to the spot it's in and gets on with the business of blooming and making seeds for future generations of spiderwort.  Those seeds germinate in due time and unless pulled by the Head Gardener on a regular basis, grow into clumps as large as that pictured.  Which adapt to the spot they're in and get on with the business of blooming and making seeds ... etcetera etcetera etcetera ... ad infinitum.


Then there's Evening Primrose, Oenothera speciosa. Look at her, so pretty in pink ... dainty and demure, the very picture of innocence.  No matter how hot and dry the locale, she is ever the trooper.  Amy used to describe Evening Primrose as "so brave".  Ha!  Brazen is more like it.  There's a wanton hussy lurking underneath those tissue-thin petals and their delicate blush.  There's a reason you see roadsides and freeway verges covered in these blooms and that reason is what you don't see: a network of roots that may very well run for miles and miles ... no one knows because no one has ever been able to get them all, people!  Go ahead and plant them in a meadow ... or along the road ... but I'm begging you, learn from my mistake and don't even think of planting them in a garden bed.  You will spend the rest of your life attempting to atone for such a mistake.


And here we have the current scourge of my corner of Katy: Heartleaf Skullcap, Scutellaria ovata.  Oh, sure, it's hard to see those subtle sky-blue blooms amidst larger-flowered plants like the Shasta daisies.  How could such a sweet little plant possibly pose a threat to the sanity of the Head Gardener, who has proclaimed herself at her wits' end here at Wit's End?  Surely she exaggerates.  But, sadly, she does not.  This little darling of a plant not only reseeds with wanton abandon, it has an even more extensive root system than the Oenothera, sending its runners into the nooks and crannies of the edging stones, into the crushed granite of the paths, under the flagstones and into the next bed ... And did I mention the odd nodules on the roots?  Those are doubtless some devilishly efficient method of storing water so the plants can survive in even the worst of droughts.  Don't turn your back on this one.  Seriously.  You may think you've gotten all of it out of a particular area but five minutes later, you'll turn around and they're baaaaaaaaaaccckkkkkkk.

Now repeat after me: Friends don't let friends plant spiderwort.  Friends don't let friends plant Evening Primrose.  Friends don't let friends plant Heartleaf Skullcap.   Learn from me, oh fellow gardeners mine ...

6 comments:

Caroline said...

So funny. I adore all three; they'll grow on the hot, dry, shady side of my house. And they'll crawl over to the renter neighbors house and climb right up their horrible Trees of Heaven that are popping up all over my yard. Bwah ha ha ha...revenge is sweet! One gardener's trash is another's treasure.

Houston Garden Girl said...

Oh my! Pam@Digging is telling everyone to plant it, you say avoid it. I am so torn!

Leslie said...

I see things online about Mexican Evening Primrose being a good plant...but not here! It has slowly moved down our street and you can be sure if I ever see it in my garden I will fight back.

Annie in Austin said...

How funny, Cindy - have tried to grow Heartleaf skullcap 4 times & it still looks wimpy. My Sweet Kate tradescantia is smaller now than when I planted it. But that pink primrose? Doubt that even I could kill it.

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

Dee/reddirtramblings said...

Or Autumn clematis, or obedient plant. Hate 'em. Try not to lose your mind my dear.~~Dee

Rose said...

Lol, thanks for the advice, Cindy:) I'm having similar regrets about the Obedient Plant I planted two years ago--I think it is striving for world domination in the butterfly garden this year:)