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It might seem inconceivable that thuggery can exist in the garden but it certainly does!
What do I mean? Badly behaved plants that grow stongly smothering their neighbours, grow alarmingly fast or self seed all over the place. Read for some of the well known and not so well known garden thugs.
Unbelievable, variegated Ground Elder is very popular with garden designers who love it's fresh looking green and white variegation.
It is really only slightly less vigorous than that the green leaved weed.
I have found it to be slow to establish, but suddenly after a few years it spreads all over. It's thin white roots penetrate the rootballs of neighbouring plants. A complete nightmare!
The horror stories of giant out of control 50 ft Leylandii hedges are not exaggerated.
Lawyers books in the U.K.are full of cases of inconsiderate neighbours Leylandii hedges blocking out daylight and causing complete despair in the process.
Perhaps less well known is the fact that the Leyland cypress has a surprisingly weak root system for such an ultimately large tree.
I have seen 50 ft whoppers being toppled like dominoes in a storm causing major damage to property.
A fairly new plant with very attractive blackish- purple foliage and yellow flowers.
I planted a group of three plants in a herbaceous border in 1998. By spring 1999, the plant reappeared three feet from where It was planted. Spring 2000 it had spread 8 ft all round .
I had to lift the entire border and painstakingly remove every white root of little horror .
Amazingly sharp root tips are designed for pushing their way through the densest clumps of perennial plant and shrub roots.
This week I have noticed ......it is back!
The species that is in the parentage of many excellent garden hybrids and frequently used as a rootstock for it's well behaved progeny.
Large, typical Rhody flowers, in a pretty light purple/ pink. Don't be fooled by it's charms!
If you have conditions that suit this plant, cool moist climate, be very wary of this plant.
It has escaped into the wild in Scotland, Northern England and Wales where it has swept through the countryside killing the local flora as it voraciously self seeds everywhere.
Those innocent looking shiny leaves, which when dropped release a chemical which is effectively a weedkiller which eliminates all competition!
Each year, hundreds of acres of it are destroyed to save the native wild plants of the Uk.
Amazingly the variegated version is sold in garden centres.....and it is every bit as bad as the plain green leaved ponticum.
Introduced as an herbaceous border plant during the late 19th Century. The triffid- like Japanese Knotweed with it's 6ft-8 ft tall hollow stems, heart shaped leaves and greenish white flowers now rates as one of the most pernicious weeds.
Still planted as an ornamental in eastern Europe.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|