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What are you sorry you planted pt.#2

Chevy Chase, MD(Zone 7a)

Cindy: I'm impressed if you conquered Aegepodium. Maybe this spring I'll succumb and use RoundUp!

Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

The ONLY good thing about Lemon balm - the previous owner had it everywhere, and I discovered something about it, at least in my yard. It is fairly narrow in terms of root, and wherever it is - there is nothing under it. I used it for markers in terms of where I could dig and put plants, from peonies to hydrangeas. It doesn't tend to grow over tree roots. So where it grows - I can dig and plant!

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

Before Aegopodium eradication and after: sweet relief. It never came back - not a single strand. My success prompted me to eliminate it in two other areas.

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Pittsford, NY(Zone 6a)

I had Bishops weed at the other house.I thought the variegated leaves were so pretty.It grew into a privet hedge and killed it with shade.

Same for Lemon Balm there and stupidly I planted Artemesia same thing right?,what a nuisance.I still find it 100 feet from where the mother plant was yanked 3 years ago.

I have Persecaria Red Shield but its happy on the back bank so it can go where it likes.

Ginger on the other hand is just awful and it likes to grow in the middle of echinaceas and sedums,antwhere that is impossible to weed it out.

Chevy Chase, MD(Zone 7a)

I have the NON-variegated Aegepodium -- if the variegated kind were a shop-lifter, the non-variegated is a murderer; if the variegated kind were a drizzle, the non-variegated kind is a hurricane. Etc. I wouldn't wish it on anyone.

But I am actually persuaded to try Round-Up on it. I have tried for way to long to take care of it manually, sifting its long worm-like roots out of the soil.

This message was edited Oct 17, 2012 8:52 AM

Pittsford, NY(Zone 6a)

I used Round up.It takes a few applications over time but it works.

Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

Found a way to get rid of maple seedlings that predecessors have allowed to become one inch or more in diameter. Cut as short as possible, remove the leaves, apply Roundup and put glue on top of the roundup. I have not had to do this more than twice to eliminate them.

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

When I tried using the Round Up once a week the Aegopodium just laughed and continued to grow. I only resorted to every other day because I was so desperate to get rid of it.

Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

I didn't plant it, but I was truly disappointed to identify two very large shrubs planted by my predecessors as burning bushes. Not only do I find them uninteresting, but they are invasive. I hate plants that are drab as wallpaper until they color up in fall. Those things are all over the neighborhood. My eye is repelled by the overplanted. If I could, I'd pull them out and replace them with viburnums, instead of a plant that is just a big green blob until it berries in the fall and then the birds spread the seeds everywhere. The other thing they had, which I managed to eliminate, were three Crimson Pygmy barberries - also invasive.

Everyone seems to have the same few plants in this neighborhood: ditchlilies, burning bushes, hostas and barberries. And bearded iries they don't take care of (sorry, but I just don't care for them). And bridal veil spireas, which don't look good unless they are in their short series of bloom. So it galls me to have that stuff in my yard, some of them taking up precious sunlight in which I would plants viburnum triloum, carlesi, opulus or any plant with some kind of character and multiseason interest, like roses, grasses or smokebushes.

Chevy Chase, MD(Zone 7a)

Are the triloum, carlesi, opulus all Virburnums? Do you love them all?

Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

Yes, yes, yes!

You get beautiful flowers in the spring, gorgeous fruit in the summer, brilliant color in the fall.

Here is viburnum carlesi. I wish I could send you the scent, which is intoxicating.

Completely hardy. Self cleaning - no deadheading!

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Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

Trilobum. Three seasons of color. Completely hardy. No care. This and the carlesi come in full size and compactum.

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Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

Viburnum opulus Spring Green.

There are many different kinds. Viburnums give a garden structure and color, and attract wildlife. I had several other kinds, all shapes and sizes. I've had robins, goldfinches, cardinals nesting in them. Mourning doves love to sit under them and coo. I miss them. WHAAAA!

I thought they were just boring shrubs until I was enlighted by my garden planner.

This message was edited Oct 17, 2012 3:13 PM

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Chevy Chase, MD(Zone 7a)

Garden planner? Tell more....

Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)


When we were building out home in our new community in 1998 we were told that we could pay $200 for a landscape consultation. It took a lot of tooth pulling to understand what that meant, but it meant that:

A landscape architect would come on site and spend a few hours planning with us. She was all of about 25, new to Chicago, and new to the firm.

Nothing could be planted without our permission (their policy was to stick a shade tree in every yard - their choice).

Oh, and yes, the architect was with the firm of Peter Lindsay Schaut - not well known then, but they are the designer of Milllennium Plaza in Chicago and many other pricey projects.

I screamed yes and had conditions:

I wanted a garden based upon ornamental grasses, especuially miscanthus (the architech beamed - it's one of their specialities)

I wanted emphasis on horizontal plants, not vertical ones, except for the grasses, and I wanted multiple seasons of interest emphasizing fall.

I wanted crabapples.
I wanted lilacs.
I wanted a pagoda dogwood.
I wanted fall blooming anemones.
I wanted baptisia australis.
I wanted ferns.
I wanted a linden, but not a basswood.
I wanted a Moon Garden (thank you first issue of Garden Gate).

I did not want:
Autumn Joy sedum
Black eyed susans
Purple coneflowers
Any conventional or commonly used plant, or one that was entirely dependent upon the flower for beauty.

I've always been that way. I am turned off by the conventional and heavily used. If Knockouts had been in existence, they would have been added to the list.

This is what it looked like in September of 2006. Mind you, everything to the right of the grasses is on the easement, and everything there I put in later, but look at the basic structure. The grasses are actually about a foot from the property line, but I was given permission to go hog wild, which I did.

She added some viburnums. Sold on them, I bought more.

From her, I learned about basic structure - good bones. And notice the privacy. We could see out beautifully, but no one could see in. Important when the front, back and side of your house are viewable from the street.

This message was edited Oct 17, 2012 3:15 PM

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Chevy Chase, MD(Zone 7a)

Donna - that's gorgeous. You don't have a list of what is in that photo do you?

Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)


Left to right, on the left hand side.

Way in the corner is an acer griseum, a paperbark maple, that we added later. We found it for $17.50 in Wisconsin. They were selling them for $35, and had no takers.

Pic 1 is a close up of the paperbark maple, the pagoda dogwood, and one of the five lilacs next to the house.
The very short grass in the front of the bed with the nasturiums is Prairie Dropseed (sporobolis heterolepsis) a really nice little grass with which to start the flow. It blooms extravagantly. The big grass in the 2006 picture is miscanthus sinensis Silberfeil (silver sword). It's not in commerce anymore, but that's ok, because there are better ones with a similar shape. The redder grass to the right of Silberfeil is Huron Sunrise. It is known for its extravagant bloom. One of the silberfeils died out and I replaced it with Huron.

Further down are more silberfeil, pennesetum (Chinese fountain grass) that you can't see, and the gently illuminated grass is Miscanthus sinensis Morning Light. I added 5. They are superior. You can see them better in this second picture, taken the same day as the first.

The lilacs on the easement are President Lincoln. I put them in. Blue, and completely mildew resistant! As you can see, I added more Chinese Fountain grass. The tree is a bailei linden I found in Wisconsin. The grass on the right - 8 of them, her suggestion, is the great miscanthus sinensis gracillimus. It is the grass in ancient Japanese paintings. The small shrub is a hydrangea Querquefolia Snowflake I got from Forest Farm.

Picture 3 is Morning Light in the fall. It doesn't bloom until October, and it took three years to bloom. Once I saw it in pictures, I had to have it.

She planned the front and both sides, but I ended up conservatively quadrupling what she did, and then adding rose and peonies, lots more shrubs and ornamental trees and, well, going nuts. I would find what I wanted in books, and then go find it. It often meant shopping out of state. I could get to my favorite Wisconsin nursery in less that an hour, and boy they loved the sight of me! They and Forest Farm. Nursery stock in Illinois is very expensive, and they all have the same incredibly boring plants.

But it was the help of this very gifted young lady, exhausted from her flight from Boston, who took what I thought was a crazy idea and helped me bring it to light. Her name was Chandra. I'll always be grateful.

Edited to say five lilacs next to the house, not maples!

This message was edited Oct 21, 2012 5:14 AM

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Chevy Chase, MD(Zone 7a)

Wow -- I always learn from you, Donna. I love the Prairie Dropseed (sporobolis heterolepsis) -- I had not heard of that. I did just buy some Miscanthus Morning Light a few weeks ago from the Santa Rosa sale -- I knew it was highly regarded, but didn't know just how lovely it is! I gotta tell you, when you write a post like this, I laboriously look up every single plant that I don't know about, and salivate!

Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

You almost never see Prairie Dropseed anymore (the latin name is quite a mouthfull) because it isn't showy. It ewas her idea - it creates great flow at the base of the beds. I don't have many good pic of it (it's great in bloom), but look at the flow in early spring. I can't find a pic in bloom, but it is still there in fall.

I love it with Whirlybird mahogany nasturtiums (June and July).

We have very similar taste. There are so many wonderful plants out there that give your garden interest and spark your imagination. It is great fun to show them to you!

One last pic from the other side of my yard - the value of berries. A viburnum opulus and a crabapple.

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Chevy Chase, MD(Zone 7a)

I love all your photos, but (at the moment) most especially your Viburnum opulus. But it likes moist soil! I need shrubs to go in places that will withstand the typical summer drought here. I water a lot of my yard, but I don't want to expand the area that I have to water.

Hobart, IN

I second Donna's opinion on V. carlesii. I always look forward to bloom time on that one and it really does perfume the backyard where I have it planted. My next-door neighbor planted one in her front yard so I get the fragrance benefit.
I sometimes wish I had the space for a couple of those big grasses but there wouldn't be room for anything else. I have a pie-shaped wooded lot on a cul-de-sac and only get decent sun in a small area towards the point.
happy - I'm with you on the WBG - only use BBG on poison ivy when it's too big for me to pull. I did try it on my nasty Campanula but the plants just laughed at me.
I used to think sweet woodruff was sweet as well but it needs a dedicated space since it doesn't play well with others. And it starts looking pretty ratty here by the end of summer, maybe because it's growing in clay instead of nice woodsy loam.

Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

Moist soil! Hah!

It's in clay soil in full sun and I can't remember ever watering it in ten plus years. It never stopped thriving and blooming - it has tripled in size. All of my viburnums were in spots in which they got the full blast of our 90 degree plus sun.

I have no idea what it would look like in moist soil. Would it quadruple?

If you are looking for a space filler, I have another one for you. Viburnum dentatum, and I strongly recommend the cultivar Chicago Lustre, so called because of the shininess of the leaves. This gets really big - I have two along the length of my garage and have to prune it heavily every year. But it is drought tolerant, produces a billion sparkling blue berries that the birds devour, after producing a MASS of flowers. This is a space filler and screen (12 feet tall) but it is a beautiful one.

The third pic is in November. I wish I could show you the berries.

And it plays very nicely with others. Why not use it instead of evergreens? No browning, no desiccation. (Oh, did I mention that I vetoed evergreens too?)

Note - get this cultivar. I understand that Blue Muffin is a disappointment in terms of bloom Chicago Lustre was developed by the Morton Arboretum here. Plants developed by arboretums are often superior. Plants developed by people who sell them have characteristics that are highly advertised, patented for profit, or not necessarily good. It isn't well known that Donald Ramsey Hydrangea is a clone of Endless Summer hydrangea sold for a fraction of the price because t isn't patented. Or that Endless Summer and similar reblooming hydrangeas simply popped up in the gardens of people who were discerning enough to understand that they were unusual, and patented what nature produced, not what hybridizers created!

This message was edited Oct 18, 2012 5:08 PM

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Northern, NJ(Zone 6b)

DonnaMack,I saw your lovely Viburnum dentatum photos in the last post and I was wondering if I could ask about when, what and how you prune them.
I have a species V. dentatum that is a few years old and about 5'X5'. It is right next to a really pretty azalea "Marydel" .
I'd like to keep the Viburnum from encroaching on the azalea. There is room for it to grow to the left but of course the viburnum is heading right.

Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

You are going to love this answer.

You can prune them anytime. Whenever they encroach. I have pruned them when dormant. I have pruned them in bud. I have pruned them in bloom. And you need zero finesse. Just hack away to keep them in bounds.

Mind you, pruning stimulates growth, so you are going to stimulate growth. And you are going to have to prune them annually. They are vigorous. So don't worry if you don't like your work.

The nickname for his plant is arrowwood. And yes, that is what they were used for - arrows. Tough as nails. Very forgiving. Drought tolerant. Heat tolerant.

When they were put in I was told that they would completely cover the garage. I didn't believe it. Hey, the joke's on me.

I love the way they grow, and bloom, low to the ground. No bare legs unless you want them. They are therefore a great backdrop to other plants. These pictures were taken two years apart. Feverfew and nepeta "front" it beautifully. How many shrubs bloom to the ground?

Love it!

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Northern, NJ(Zone 6b)

Thanks DonnaMack that information is very helpful.
Your use of shrubs and trees and large sweeps of grass is elegant.
I'd like to do the same on a smaller property with almost entirely native plants.
Since I started out with non natives it is an interesting process finding natives that will do the same job visually.
The grasses I use mostly are little bluestem, my favorite for fall color and smaller size, and switch grass.
The one flaw with switch grass is after many years there is a big bald area in the middle and then you have to divide and replant or plant something else in the middle.

Digging up a mature switch grass is no easy task but not much more labor intensive then removing a mature grouping of siberian iris.
Siberian iris is way too aggressive and hard to remove so that is one I'm sorry I planted.
Every time I think it's gone I find big chunks appearing anew. To think I bought a few varieties of them in the early years of my garden.
And daffodils, I remember planting 50 at a time and now I remove everyone I find to make room for other plants. They are everywhere and spreading also.
Both my own doing.

Pittsford, NY(Zone 6a)

Burning bush is big here too.We have 1 but neighbors have a row along their driveway.
Its a long wait for color.
We do have a crabapple thats white and blooms in November sometimes.Thats a treat.

Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

Big Bluestem is a lovely grass. Prairie dropseed is native, as is chasmanthium latifolium (northern sea oats - gorgeous but it seeds a lot).

I know that my garden is probably perceived as entirely non-native, but there are many lovely native plants that I incorporated into a landscape - cornus alternifolia being just one. I think that this native dogwood is the most beautiful of all. When I was establishing my garden I bought several books on native plants to find attractive additions. "Easy Care Native Plants" by Patricia Taylor was particularly helpful. She listed, and I utilized, oakleaf hydrangea, dwarf fothergilla, viburnum prunifolium, viburnum trilobum (aka American cranberry bush) allegheny serviceberry and bayberry. These were all very successful.

Anderson, IN(Zone 6a)

I really always have enjoyed the grasses, lot of natives grow here.Blue oat grass I planted,green oat grass grows here and is delightful. I have a couple of the stem and reed grasses not sure of which as I didn't plant them only let them grow.
Some of the natives really are quite beautiful after a few years,it seems it takes longer for them to mature than most would ever give them a chance to do.It is often worth the wait.
I am going to try sneak a spicebush in the yard next spring, hopefully, anyway ,I will find it a place, I understand they can get rather large. I also here it is an easy native and SWT host plant.
Except for the old evergreens my gardens are pretty much going to rest for the winter,I will finish clean ups this week if the weather stays nice.

Stinging nettle as the thread title is about the only might be.

Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

Semper (thank you for the lovely compliment) I am experiencing the same thing with daffodils. Sometimes the disadvantage of using heirloom daffs is that they prove to you very quickly WHY they are 100 years old by throwing wild parties all over your property and multiplying like mad. At my old house a handful of Mt. Hoods had propagating so intensely that the offsets rose to the surface. I didn't want the new owners to have to deal with it, so I started pulling up the surfacy ones. Then I didn't know what to do with them. So I now have them at the base of my raspberry plants.

I have seen the problem with siberian iris, and I never put it in. There are a lot of bearded iris around me and they had a very bad year.

A thought with your switch grass. A lot of grasses die out in the middle because they lack light and nutrition. I had so many (at least 55 - I lost count) that this was a concern, and it was happening with a few of them. Then I was advised that, after cutting them back in spring, to put a bit of a 10-10-10 fertilizer on them in April. I found that it rejuvenated the inner clumps. As a result, after 15 years I never had to dig up and divide a grass, and that in fact the empty sections regrew. Perhaps it is worth a try?

Pittsford, NY(Zone 6a)

Still lamium for me.Just dug out 3 basketball sized clumps. I doubt I can do that again. Looks like an early spring Weed B Gone for me.

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

ge - try the Weed B Gon around noon some sunny day. The loss of the lamiums will brighten your winter outlook.

Pittsford, NY(Zone 6a)

Are you saying it doesnt have the temperature sensetivity that Round-up does?

Chevy Chase, MD(Zone 7a)

What temperature sensitivity does Round-Up have?

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

In general weed killers work between 65 and 85. They work more slowly at 60. Right now it's 57 here but I'm going to apply the CONCENTRATED Weed B Gon and I can let you know in a few days if it worked.

You'd have to Google "Round Up temperature sensitivity" to find out the exact temperatures for Round Up.

KC Metro area, MO(Zone 6a)

With switchgrass, you can cut it back then burn it in the fall or spring. That will help keep it full and lush. Switchgrass is a native prairie plant and the prairies depend on fire to help nourish it. I burned mine every other year and it loved it.

Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)


You are right, of course, about the burning. Cutting it back is just a way to try to duplicate that process in the places that are like the one in which I live. If I tried to burn my grasses I would be arrested. You have to pay lots of money, go through training, and organize a group of at least three people to perform a "controlled burn". Probably has to do with population density.

And it sounds a lot easier than getting out the hedge trimmer!

KC Metro area, MO(Zone 6a)

Stick one of those chimeas (sp?) real close to fool your neighbors. lol. Actually, I cut mine back, got rid of the cut grass, then burned the little bit left there. But being in town I can understand about having to be careful about that.

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

Update regarding my evil Houttuynia cordata 'Chameleon' and the Weed B Gon CONCENTRATE I used on Sunday:

1. Just a sprig of the evil weed after I gave it one spray.

2. Same sprig today. Quite limp, brown.

3. There were other longer pieces so I ended up putting them in a grocery store bags (check that there are NO holes) and still protected the surrounding plants with plastic.

4. Those same sprigs, in the bag with the Weed B Gon CONCENTRATE, this morning - they're dead.

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(Pam) Warren, CT(Zone 5b)

Hallelujah! Good for you! May they stay that way! I know what a struggle it's been. My bÍte noir, the evil Apios Americana vine, still pops up here and there, even where I thought I'd sterilized the soil. But you give me hope...

Pittsford, NY(Zone 6a)

I sprayed WBG on a few big weeds that were not near perens. I dont see any dead lamium but the plantain ( pigweed) is a gonner.

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