GROWING GREEN: Beware of garden thugs

WhatsOn Oct 11, 2014 Hamilton Mountain News

I’ve never met a gardener who hasn’t planted something that at first sight looked innocent and pretty and later lived to regret it.

It needn’t have been something big like giant hog weed or a Norway maple, either. Many plants become invasive by root runners or self-seeding. They choke out the plants we want and can take over entire swatches of a garden.

Some, like garlic mustard and purple loosestrife, endanger our woods and wetlands.

In my garden, I have a tiny ground hugging sedum that blooms yellow in late spring. It was here when we bought the house and served its purpose in a newly planted garden around our pond. It has insinuated itself into the creeping thyme, ajuga and iris as well as every other nook and cranny it can find.

There are other culprits to avoid, many of them ground covers: English ivy, houttuynia, periwinkle, ribbon grass, goutweed to name a few.

Plant wild strawberry, wild ginger, wintergreen, mayapple or foamflower (tiarella cordifolia) instead.

Grasses are all the rage now. But buyer beware as some such as miscanthus sinensis are invasive, spreading by seed and rhizomes. I’ve found oat grass, as lovely as it is when its seed heads are swaying in the autumn breeze, has worked its way into places it shouldn’t be and is a pain to dig out.

There are many great alternatives out there, so do your research. When plant shopping, always read the plant labels carefully. Lastly, beware of gardeners bearing gifts of plants that they have an abundance of!

Growing Green is a regular feature prepared by the  Mount Hamilton Horticultural Society (gardenontario.org/site.php/mhhs). Helen MacPherson, vice-president of the society, wrote this report.

GROWING GREEN: Beware of garden thugs

WhatsOn Oct 11, 2014 Hamilton Mountain News

I’ve never met a gardener who hasn’t planted something that at first sight looked innocent and pretty and later lived to regret it.

It needn’t have been something big like giant hog weed or a Norway maple, either. Many plants become invasive by root runners or self-seeding. They choke out the plants we want and can take over entire swatches of a garden.

Some, like garlic mustard and purple loosestrife, endanger our woods and wetlands.

In my garden, I have a tiny ground hugging sedum that blooms yellow in late spring. It was here when we bought the house and served its purpose in a newly planted garden around our pond. It has insinuated itself into the creeping thyme, ajuga and iris as well as every other nook and cranny it can find.

There are other culprits to avoid, many of them ground covers: English ivy, houttuynia, periwinkle, ribbon grass, goutweed to name a few.

Plant wild strawberry, wild ginger, wintergreen, mayapple or foamflower (tiarella cordifolia) instead.

Grasses are all the rage now. But buyer beware as some such as miscanthus sinensis are invasive, spreading by seed and rhizomes. I’ve found oat grass, as lovely as it is when its seed heads are swaying in the autumn breeze, has worked its way into places it shouldn’t be and is a pain to dig out.

There are many great alternatives out there, so do your research. When plant shopping, always read the plant labels carefully. Lastly, beware of gardeners bearing gifts of plants that they have an abundance of!

Growing Green is a regular feature prepared by the  Mount Hamilton Horticultural Society (gardenontario.org/site.php/mhhs). Helen MacPherson, vice-president of the society, wrote this report.

GROWING GREEN: Beware of garden thugs

WhatsOn Oct 11, 2014 Hamilton Mountain News

I’ve never met a gardener who hasn’t planted something that at first sight looked innocent and pretty and later lived to regret it.

It needn’t have been something big like giant hog weed or a Norway maple, either. Many plants become invasive by root runners or self-seeding. They choke out the plants we want and can take over entire swatches of a garden.

Some, like garlic mustard and purple loosestrife, endanger our woods and wetlands.

In my garden, I have a tiny ground hugging sedum that blooms yellow in late spring. It was here when we bought the house and served its purpose in a newly planted garden around our pond. It has insinuated itself into the creeping thyme, ajuga and iris as well as every other nook and cranny it can find.

There are other culprits to avoid, many of them ground covers: English ivy, houttuynia, periwinkle, ribbon grass, goutweed to name a few.

Plant wild strawberry, wild ginger, wintergreen, mayapple or foamflower (tiarella cordifolia) instead.

Grasses are all the rage now. But buyer beware as some such as miscanthus sinensis are invasive, spreading by seed and rhizomes. I’ve found oat grass, as lovely as it is when its seed heads are swaying in the autumn breeze, has worked its way into places it shouldn’t be and is a pain to dig out.

There are many great alternatives out there, so do your research. When plant shopping, always read the plant labels carefully. Lastly, beware of gardeners bearing gifts of plants that they have an abundance of!

Growing Green is a regular feature prepared by the  Mount Hamilton Horticultural Society (gardenontario.org/site.php/mhhs). Helen MacPherson, vice-president of the society, wrote this report.