Field of Science

Gardening Mistakes

Everyone makes gardening mistakes. A couple of years ago the Phactor planted a plume poppy (Macleaya cordata) in what is by no means a small perennial bed (~30’ x 80’) and it only took two years to realize that this was the biggest, most impressive, most attractive, most aggressively invasive weed I ever purposefully planted. And every tiny piece of root could (and DID) give rise to a new shoot. You almost could not dig fast enough to keep in front of it. Be warned people! Sentence: death.

This past weekend was spent correcting another couple of gardening mistakes, just none as scary as a plume poppy. Ural false spiraea Sorbaria sorbifolia is actually a nice looking, very hardy, non-fussy, summer-flowering shrub, but again you had better have a large place for it. Once it gets going it spreads quite vigorously by means of shallow rhizomes. It filled a 10’ diameter area in a border garden in 3 years. Fortunately it’s shallow rooted and fairly easy to move or remove. Plant parole has been granted and it gets a 2nd chance in a slightly shadier, slightly wilder and bigger place.

The Phactor has not been a great success over the years with flowering vines. A non-flowering wisteria was adding injury to insult by pulling down the arbor especially built for it, concrete anchors and all. Of course, the removal might have been a tad premature because the vine had latched onto the burr oak beyond, and in the long run may have acted as a counter force pulling the other direction to stabilize the arbor. Unless of course the oak was pulled down too. Ah, the power of plants is something to behold. Sentence: death. The search will continue for a kinder, gentler flowering vine.

The jury is still out on a fancy staghorn sumac as it encroaches on bottle brush buckeyes and the rest of the world. Wonder when the neighbors will notice they have a new hedgerow plant?

Let the Phactor know about plants to look out for. Better forewarned than sorry.

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