Posts tagged #Invasive

The Dark Side

This post is more of a warning than the usual celebration of a plant.  Aegopodium variegatum, alias goutweed, bishop’s weed, snow on the mountain or ground elder, has refreshing green and white foliage that can be inviting without knowing its dark side.  This is one of the most invasive plants I have dealt with in my garden.  I inherited several pre-existing beds, of which all but one has been dug up and removed – and yes, where wee bits of root were left in the ground, goutweed returned.  The single purpose I have found for goutweed is to fill a confined troubled area – a steep bank, an isolated strip along concrete, a dry shade bed under a tree – with the caveat that it must be contained, with definite barriers to stop its constant aggressive ability to advance and bully.  Please do not plant goutweed in a mixed perennial bed!  Goutweed spreads by rhizomes, which are fleshy underground roots that shoot up new plants.  The creamy green foliage with snowy edges and lacy white summer blooms can be tempting, especially since goutweed thrives on neglect.  But beware the bedraggled, seemingly fragile, green and white plant, with any of these common names, at the greenhouse.  When I see an unsuspecting customer picking it up, I am incapable of not offering a warning!         

Technical stuff – Goutweed/Aegopodium variegatum, hardy perennial to zone 3, height of about 8-10” with bloom stems up to 18”, spreads forever, full sun to full shade, survives poor soil, drought tolerant, white blooms in summer.    

Posted on February 23, 2015 and filed under Groundcover, Perennials.

Love Hate

Heavy sigh, the battle of invasive plants. Much of my gardening knowledge comes from experience, and I have had my share of experiencing invasive plants. When we moved to our current property, there were no cared for gardens, just one weed bed with aged, gnarly junipers, and one bed with tiger lilies, phlox and perennial sunflowers. Both of the beds were infiltrated with the renowned invasive goutweed (also called bishop’s goutweed or aegopodium). There was also innocent looking, sweet violets growing here and there in the lawn. More than 10 yrs later, despite digging out goutweed with a backhoe, I still find patches. And I pull hundreds of violets from precious garden real estate every year…but after they bloom, because I have to admit still loving the sweet purple blossoms, and I have freckled violets that are pale mauve with deeper mauve speckles – so lovely in spring! Yes, invasives are a love/hate relationship. Invasives can have a purpose – they are splendid to fill tough growing areas like a side hill or alley between houses, but the area needs to be completely contained, and not connected to any other garden beds. I have one contained bed with yellow creeping jenny that is stellar when blooming in late spring. This is not a definitive list, but in my experience, always pay utmost concern to mints, some grasses (ie. ribbon grass, before you buy a grass, ask if it is invasive), some artemisia, plume poppies, cotoneaster, lily of the valley, violets and creeping jenny. Some perennials are meant for part shade or poor soil, and can get rampant when they have more sun or richer soil (ie. lamium, evening primrose or rudbeckia can be aggressive spreaders). If the plant name includes ‘weed’ (ie. gout weed), or the comments include ‘spreads by rhizomes’, then be careful.

Posted on February 15, 2014 and filed under Guidance.