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Article: It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time, or, Unfortunate Planting Decisions: In defense of . . . colonizers

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Forum: Article: It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time, or, Unfortunate Planting DecisionsReplies: 8, Views: 197
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Miami, FL
(Zone 10a)

June 23, 2010
7:27 AM

Post #7913089


I wholeheartedly concur with your recommendation that gardeners learn all they can about a particular plant before committing it to their garden, especially if it appears to be vigorous. I do wish to put in a word of support for such plants, however. If it weren't for tenacious colonizing species like these, the world would have many more permanently barren areas with no vegetation. These kinds of plants are able to establish in places where other, more timid, plants fear to tread. In so doing, they establish a beachhead, as it were, that enables the development of a whole ecosystem in time. I've heard that the definition of a "weed" is "a plant out of place" - that definition certainly applies when one of these aggressive colonizers finds itself in our gardens. it doesn't know that the bare spot has dormant bulbs or winter-sowed seeds in it, the plant just sees a barren area ripe for colonization.

For this reason, I refuse to call them "invasive", but rather place the responsibility on the people who move plants around and grow them to learn and know what to do, when, and where, since these plant cannot make the "correct" choice in and of themselves when it comes to our gardens and developed areas!
Albuquerque, NM
(Zone 7b)

June 23, 2010
12:28 PM

Post #7913921

I mostly agree LariAnn. I would add the condition of plants that choke others out, not just moving into a empty space. That said, I absolutely agree that it is the plants survival mechanism and is a good thing. The responsibility is on us to know what we are doing when we select a new plant and put its toes in the soil.

I largely find fault with the sellers of the plants who don't bother to learn anything about the plants they sell. It is my opinion that if it is your profession you should be knowledgable about what you are doing. Its a pretty simple check to look at the invasive plants list before you commit to your stock for the year.
Mount Vernon, KY

June 23, 2010
1:28 PM

Post #7914087

There is nothing prettier than the last summer day mornings with a heavy dew,and morning glories blooming along the fence row, even on an old stalk of corn or two. (no more and that is too many).

There is nothing more tranquil than a pasture in early fall full with sporadic purple ironweed, yellow goldenrod, and those low growing blue mist plants.

Middle summer nothing so joyful as lavender colored fuzzy blooms of the anise, and it;s smell as I brush againest them in the garden.

Snow on the Mountian shows up bright as a white garden in the moonlight as we have a cook out over at our most beloved neighbors and friends.

Okay enought with the romance - let us get down to reality:

There is nothing worse in June, and July and early August with morning glories choking out sweet potatoes and green corn. Nothing worse than a plant or two letting them bloom in your garden in the fall, for next year all summer long --you - you will pay and pay, and pay. while you try keep it out of your corn.

At least golden rod keeps to the pasture, the Anise plants I spray what I don't want in the spring, and snow on the mountain - well my neighbor had to contend with that and I am not one that has to learn the hard way.

But moring glories again---How can something be so pretty, represent the end of the growing season - and yet--- It is like Two Face on Batman, Dr. Jekell, and Mr. Hyde.

Do you know that they actually have the nerve to sell packets of morning glory seeds?

June 28, 2010
6:34 PM

Post #7929013

Many of the plants you mention are well known to me as a herbal practitioner...Yarrow has many extraordinary qualities. It can stop bleeding, neutralize insect stings, is antimicrobial, and has hormonal properties useful to women.. Goldenrod can help reduce prostate inflammation in men. Anise-Hyssop is a delicious herbal tea. Goutweed, that cursed, cursed, horrible plant that takes over with such enthusiasm ... is EDIBLE! Who would of thought! I looked it up, found out that some people get contact dermatitis if they handle it with their bare hands, so I picked it with rubber gloves on, just in case, tossed it in a steamer for a few minutes until it was wilted looking and the two kids and I ate it like spinach with a bit of butter, minced garlic and a little bit of tamari (Japanese soy sauce). No complaints from the kids! I absolutely agree with others that it's a good idea to research plants before you put them in your garden. But if you're having trouble with something, look and see if there might be an opportunity there. Susun Weed, an upstate New York herbalist, says that the plant you need in your life will come into your garden and grow right up to your front door to try and get your attention! Research those "noxious weeds" in your garden and see if there might be some benefit there for you. When I managed a herb store, we sold Couch Grass ... it was a very good urinary antiseptic that also had a soothing anti-inflammatory property. Yes, someone out there is "harvesting" Couch Grass as a cash crop instead of cursing it as an invasive weed!! We also sold Yarrow, Goldenrod and Dandelion. Cash crops, folks! If I have too much of something, I just dig out what I don't need, or use one of the many, many effective non-toxic control methods. Even the ever growing Morning Glory I came to appreciate. It grew in a very hard clay area of the garden, when I finally got around to digging it out I found it had made little burrowing holes all through the clay and had consequently helped to break up and lighten the soil, I pulled out the roots and kept pulling them out until they reduced to a mere fraction of what they'd been. I never completely got rid of it, but funnily I got a certain fondness for it's determination. I'd talk to it as I pulled it out ... "You little rascal! Here you are again ... you're a persistent little thing aren't you!" It no longer bugged me. Why throw a whole lot of negativity into the lovely fresh garden air?
Mount Vernon, KY

June 29, 2010
7:28 AM

Post #7930061

You are young! You have more energy than you need. You need to give me a little.
BUT: there is nothing as pretty as a purplish blue, pinkish purple morning glory on a fall morning twisted around an old dried out corn stalk. Even though I will need more energy that I now have to get rid of it's offspring next year.

Now as for the plants that a person really needs in their life and coming up to their back door to get their attention (I love that!) But never the less at my old house in Bardstown, KY (where I lived for 20 years) that plant would have been the orange blooming trumpet vine--- now other than needing beauty in my life was there any other use for it?
Toledo, OH

August 9, 2010
3:02 PM

Post #8029583

liquidambar2: August in S. Illinois or Indiana brings memories of dusty gravel roads, where the only bright colors were Va. creepers with the orange trumpet vines.
Here in Toledo we have plant exchanges in spring and fall. Took a fall clematis and then did research to quickly trash it. Sometimes people seem to bring plants they don't want in order to get more tickets to get more plants.
The black eyed susans are quite popular for masses of color but mine mostly die. We do have a daisy that is not quite a Shasta that is appears everywhere. The other plants that self sow for me are snapdragons and petunias(pink Waves); especially in planters and between brick pavers.
The major critics in our neighborhood seem to be deer; who will eat anything but appear to dislike bee-balm, garlic, oregano, daffodils and lavender.
Mount Vernon, KY

August 9, 2010
9:25 PM

Post #8030401

I lived for a while up in Saginaw, Michigan and yes indeed it was the only time I had good luck with Shasta daisies. It is too hot here in KY (I think) no luck here at all.

The wave and the snap dragons reseeding. Are you bragging? I use to buy those by the huge trays every spring to plant in my mother's and my flower gardens. We both have discontinued that practice because - lots of reasons - but for one they did not reseed.

Fall clematis; I might be in trouble with that plant too. I have one next to my house on a trellis. It is really prettty, but its seedlings keep coming up in the lavenders and Russian sage. I also have four more of them on a trellis in our back yard - there is a flower garden in front of it that my daughter took over this summer. She has complained that the clematis is pushing her flower garden out of existance.

Black eyed susans; I bought those for years and years, I wanted them beside my purple cone flowers. Cone flowers reseed just fine, I could be in trouble with them too, but the black eyed susans kept getting this gray fungus milddew on them and dying. A year ago I planted some seeds that looked like black eyed susans. Hummm not sure what they really are; but they came back this year - more vigorous and more of them. I might be in trouble with them too. Whoooo knew, after all this time Rebukia could give me trouble?

Orange Trumpet vine; 20 years I worked to keep it in check - Now that I am a little further south in Kentucky there is more than that to keep in check, but not that trumpet vine.

I have been through Toledeo many a time. My husband had to work up there one whole summer for his company had its head quarters up there. I went up there one week to stay with him and took the kids. It was summer, middle of summer, so I packed summer clothers. There came a cool spell up there, the wind came off the great lake or something and we all - almost froze to death. The motel had an indoor pool - well it was half in and half out - we could not even enjoy it. Does that happen much? My husband had to stay up there some in the winter too - and he says no place colder.
Toledo, OH

August 16, 2010
6:04 AM

Post #8042721

Our grandson is in New Orleans, so we have experience with motel pools. Most are the one season variety; even the indoor pools are usually cold and may demonstrate slipshod maintenance.
No, I was amazed that the petunias and snaps would self sow. Had a pot or two that the flowers went to seed; was very surprised when the weeds growing between the paver bricks flowered under a glider.
The other plant self-sowing this year has been cleomes; the pink/white variety. Transplanted a bunch around the fenced vegetable plot and they continue to be a delight with their mass of blossoms. This morning noted that the deer? had been investigating the tomato vines and had left two green Romas? by the fence.
As to Toledo or Lake Erie shoreline being cold; we usually have a SW wind but when we get a winter squall from the Lake, stay home. We usually enjoy the first couple days of a major snowstorm, as our vista is white with assorted tracks. After the sledding, we are ready for green grass to reappear that has been hiding under the snow. Usually the snowblower does not get much use; about 2-3 times yearly the last three years. I remember a friend from Pt. Arthur who was doing a refinery turnaround here saying he also had never been so cold during a windy March.
Mount Vernon, KY

August 16, 2010
7:53 PM

Post #8044262

My husband was up there in the winter in a motel. He liked to have froze to death. When he got up that morning, snow had blown under the motel door and was piled up like a drift!!! This was the same motel that he always stayed at Holiday Inn - the one with a pool half out and half in. It was really pretty. They had rooms facing the inside surrounding the pool and they had rooms facing the outside too.

I suppose my husband needed an inside room that night.

That was in Toledo.

Still your description of your vista all white with snow - sounds delightful.

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