Gardening with invasive plants and loving them

aftermidnight Zone7b B.C. CanadaMay 15, 2014

I was laid up for most of last year so didn't get much gardening done, I seem to have accumulated a lot of rambunctious plants over the years that duke it out with each other, this top bed is full of Lady's Mantle, Ajuga, Columbine, Euphorbia and pink Lily of the Valley and in the middle is a Bush Clover that is just starting to grow now so you can't see it. Each year it's different they all seem to take their turn at taking over LOL. This fall I'll get in there and pull a lot of it out, this is the only time I can pull weeds like buttercup and Herb Robert, there's a lot of that in the mix too darn it. Annette

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aftermidnight Zone7b B.C. Canada

....another picture from down the path.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2014 at 7:04PM
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aftermidnight Zone7b B.C. Canada

and the last one a partial shot of my pool room, a lot of these ferns are going to be pulled shortly, the darn things seed themselves all over the place.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2014 at 7:11PM
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schoolhouse_gw

Wow, really nice. I see Solomon's Seal too?

I know what you mean. There is a fine line between letting them grow and create spontaneous beauty and controlling the chaos, because the first thing you know it's a jungle. I have the same problem in the orchard. I love the wildness of the wild flowers and even the weeds and decide not to mow. Well, a couple seasons later thistles and other undesirables take advantage and then I have a mess.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2014 at 4:53PM
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cyn427(z7aN. VA)

I always enjoy the pictures of your garden, especially the pool room! Everything looks so lush and lovely, Annette.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2014 at 7:42PM
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Cenepk10(7B)

Annette !!! That's so gorgeous !!!!!!!! I say LET THEM INVADE AWAY !!!!

    Bookmark   May 17, 2014 at 12:05AM
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Cenepk10(7B)

Are those mountain bluets in the 2nd photo ? I planted those next to my Lady's mantle too... Dang we are smart !!!! Love your garden. Love love love it !

    Bookmark   May 17, 2014 at 12:08AM
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Cenepk10(7B)

What is the lilac poker things beyond ?

    Bookmark   May 17, 2014 at 12:11AM
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Cenepk10(7B)

Is that a deodar cedar & chain tree( yellow blooms ) in the back and on the side ? I adore them both !!!

    Bookmark   May 17, 2014 at 12:15AM
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Cenepk10(7B)

I have to say- I've been googling, pinteresting cottage garden pics all evening & none have put a smile on my face like the pics of your garden tonight - For that ... I thank you !

    Bookmark   May 17, 2014 at 12:55AM
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aftermidnight Zone7b B.C. Canada

Cenepk10, yes those are Mt. Bluets in front of Persicaria bistorta superba (the pink pokers) watch out for this one too, you have to deadhead or you'll have it all over the place. As soon as my Mt. Bluets finish blooming half of them will be pulled out and the rest cut back to their roots. The tree to the back is a Weeping European Larch, the one on the side is a Laburnum ( Golden Chain Tree).
The picture below is what happens when you let Lady's Mantle runs amuck, I dug most of it out last spring and replaced it with a little flagstone path, much easier to get into the rest of the bed to weed. Annette

    Bookmark   May 17, 2014 at 1:07AM
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aftermidnight Zone7b B.C. Canada

I had to buy a couple of flagstones to finish the job but most were from around a pool we took out.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2014 at 1:12AM
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Cenepk10(7B)

Ahhhhhhh. Magnificent !!!!! You've made it to garden perfection, I'd say... Sigh. ... I can't imagine having to pull mountain bluets & lady's mantle at this point- but am looking forward to it !!!! Thank you so much for the response !

    Bookmark   May 17, 2014 at 1:31AM
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floral_uk z.8/9 SW UK

Just the kind of look I like. And it is so reminiscent of my own tiny garden. I hate to see any visible soil or mulch and I love to see lots of green. I wouldn't call any of these plants invasive - just robust and healthy.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2014 at 4:36AM
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luckygal(3b)

Lovely, Annette! I always enjoy seeing your garden.

I know there is quite a difference in the plants which are invasive in your climate vs. those that are invasive 300 miles further north in mine. Many of my plants would be invasive in warmer and damper climates but are reasonably well behaved here in zone 3 which has not only cold winters but is also drier.

Lady's Mantle is not at all invasive here. Even my Lily of the Valley spreads extremely slowly as I planted it under the large trees where the soil is depleted and it's very dry. I think every year I will move some to a bed with better and damper soil but am afraid it may take over!

Ajuga and feverfew are definitely invasive here so just weed out some every year. I like a few of them but won't let them take over.

I had Shasta daisies, red/pink yarrow which I planted and allowed to self-seed and they took over a large bed. Have removed most of it tho. My peony poppies have disappeared because I mulched heavily the last 2 years. Before that they self-seeded all over but I liked them so may seed more.

Forget-me-nots seed all over if I don't cut them back but it's easier to just weed them out or move them.

My Lamb's Ears go to seed because there are still blooms on the stalk when they start to go to seed and the bees really like them so I leave them and as a result they need weeding every spring.

I try to deadhead most of my Columbine but a few always drop seeds so they also need weeding or moving.

I let some Blue Flax go to seed as I want more.

I've heard from other gardeners even here that Mountain Bluet can be invasive but mine is not which I cannot explain.

I had Campanula glomerata which was a fast spreader but I eradicated it when I remade that bed and planted a small bit in a drier bed. Didn't really mean to totally get rid of it but it may not have survived. Haven't noticed yet this year.

Common mallow can be an invasive self-seeder but I keep it in check. This was a 'gift' from the birds.

I think my garden is full of invasives but in this zone they are the survivors!

    Bookmark   May 17, 2014 at 9:11AM
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aftermidnight Zone7b B.C. Canada

Thanks for all the nice comments, sometimes when I go out in my garden I think what the heck have I done, it's going to swallow me up if I don't get rid of some of these plants. But when I've been away for a day, come home a bit tired, wander out into our back yard where my garden is, ahhhhh, the feeling is utter contentment.
Right now, the scent from the azaleas, wisteria, akebia vine and the neighbours lilacs is filling the air, next to take over in the scent department will be the roses and my clematis montana wilsonii, this clematis covers my lathhouse and has the scent of chocolate.

By the way creeping through the little stacked stone wall, underneath the Mt. Bluet rambling rambunctiously along is Campanula poscharskyana (sp?), this I cut back as soon as it's finished. In other parts of the garden and along pathways, columbine, lamium, foxgloves, spanish blue bells (if you plant these, you are going to be VERY sorry) I'll post a pic later of what these bluebells have done to my raspberry bed, if only the english bluebells would grow like this here, I'm having trouble getting them to even survive, going to try once more in the fall.

I also have Corydalis lutea and welsh poppies seeding themselves everywhere and others that aren't coming to mind at the moment. I've been hoping my couple of plants of Campanula glomerata would start to spread a bit but they aren't, isn't that always the way, what you want to spread a bit won't.

The only great thing about some of these plants is they have actually crowded out a few of the weeds in places. I'll post a few more pictures as I take them, if nothing else might help you all in what not to plant or you'll be sorry sometime down the road.

Annette

    Bookmark   May 17, 2014 at 12:42PM
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jennypat Zone 3b NW MN(Zone 3b NW MN)

I got soo tired of my mountain bluet, that I didn't even let it grow this year. I had to move some Iris, and decided I would rather have them in this spot than the bluet. So I dug it all out and toss it into the tree line. I am sure that I will find more as the garden grows up.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2014 at 5:10PM
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NHBabs(4b-5aNH)

Your garden is lovely and lush! I particularly like the yellow, purples and blues, some of my favorite color combinations. You've done a great job with choosing plants with varied foliage for interest beyond the blooms.

I try to use the term invasive differently than with garden thugs and spreaders, keeping the term invasive for those plants that spread by seed into wild or uncultivated areas and outcompete native plants. While I don't know how your plants behave in your area, around here most of those would be in the spreader and thugs category for me.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2014 at 8:32PM
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Thyme2dig NH Zone 5

I always enjoy seeing photos of your garden. So lush and beautiful. The path looks great!

    Bookmark   May 18, 2014 at 7:54AM
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sweetannie4u(midOK_z6b/7a)

Fabulous, Annette!

So inviting!

    Bookmark   May 23, 2014 at 3:00AM
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aftermidnight Zone7b B.C. Canada

Annie, big sigh of relief, I been so worried about you girl I feel much better now. I'm still out there wading through the jungle, it rained yesterday and now trying to get up the path is a struggle things are reaching out and grabbing me as I walk by.
DD and I went to Vancouver on the mainland on wednesday, did a few garden centers and nurseries, needless to say we didn't come home empty handed. I came home with a couple of Ligularias I didn't have 'Dragon Wings' and 'Little Rocket', I managed to replace 'Rebecca' a clemie I had lost, the Dr. Suess or Shredded umbrella plant Syneilesis aconitifolia and a few other things that have momentarily slipped my mind :). I fell in love with a big glazed pot I saw in one of the garden centers, just had to have it. Thank goodness DS#1 was with us he lugged it into the car, must of weighed 50 lbs.

Now where to put it LOL. Yesterday DH lugged it up to the back fence where I had propped up an ornamental trellis I had bought on an earlier trip down island. I didn't look right the fence boards were too short sooooo I had DH pull off some of the fence boards, go up to Rona (just up the street) and by 5 longer boards to put behind the trellis, looks better now. I haven't planted the pot up yet, still thinking about what to put in it, in the meantime I plunked the clemie in it until I decide where to plant it LOL.
I'm really busy right now getting the plants I have all tiddly for our garden club plant sale tomorrow but when I get chance I'll take a picture of my new pot and post it here.

Jumping up and down here, well not really, can hardly get the feet off the ground anymore but hey guys, ANNIE's back, you have been sooooooo missed girl.

Annette

    Bookmark   May 23, 2014 at 10:41AM
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sarahrock(6)

Wow, I feel like I've never even heard of Persicaria bistorta. Where have i been? It's going on my mental to-try list.

Like luckygal, lady's mantle is more of a survivor (barely) than an invasive in my yard. I'm so jealous!!

    Bookmark   May 27, 2014 at 11:04AM
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thinman(Z5 MI)

Annette, if that's what a garden of invasives looks like, I think I need more invasives! Beautiful!

I'm so glad that you're able to be active again. And Annie is here, too! Hi, Annie.

TM

    Bookmark   May 27, 2014 at 1:46PM
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aftermidnight Zone7b B.C. Canada

What is it with me, ya'll know how I struggle with the color yellow. DS#1 said mom it's yellow, I said it's not, it's kinda limey :). Needless to say I haven't found a home for Rebecca yet she's still sitting in 'LIMEY'.

Annette

    Bookmark   May 27, 2014 at 2:14PM
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aftermidnight Zone7b B.C. Canada

Clematis Montana wilsonii covering my lathhouse is in full bloom, the air is scented with it's perfume, chocolate with a touch of mint.

Annette

    Bookmark   May 27, 2014 at 2:19PM
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bellarosa(z5/IL)

Your garden is just beautiful. Thanks for sharing your pics.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2014 at 1:52PM
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kathi_mdgd

As always Annette your gardens are Gorgeous,like the invasive look as well.Tfs
Kathi

    Bookmark   June 2, 2014 at 4:23PM
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flowerladylorraine

Oh my gosh Annette ~ Your invaded gardens are oh so lovely!!! A bit of paradise right here on earth.

FlowerLady

    Bookmark   June 7, 2014 at 2:48PM
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aftermidnight Zone7b B.C. Canada

Thanks Lorraine, I think your garden is a little bit of paradise right here on earth too :). So glad to 'see' you here again.

Annette

    Bookmark   June 7, 2014 at 4:23PM
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cadillactaste

Annette...in your first photo. Is that a Wisteria Tree in the midst? Lovely gardens...but, since I am contemplating the wisteria tree for my own yard. I was drawn to your first photo.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2014 at 11:23AM
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aftermidnight Zone7b B.C. Canada

cadillactaste, I'm beginning to think it is. When I bought it I had visions of it climbing, winding around the arms of the plant pole. I've had it in two and a bit years, it's always loaded with flowers but have yet to have a single shoot I can train up and around the arms. It wasn't bought as a tree wisteria, are these grafted to keep them more compact, I wonder? One more year, if it doesn't start climbing....

Annette

    Bookmark   June 26, 2014 at 11:44AM
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cadillactaste

I read that the grafted wisteria on trunks are less invasive and easier to control. I have a wisteria bonsai and it doesn't vine in the least. It also is grafted.

You say yours wasn't purchased as a tree though...so it was purchased looking as a vine? Or it had a straight trunk/vine you assumed?

Your wisteria is absolutely beautiful...which has my desire for a wisteria tree for my own yard more strong. Knowing a nursery that has one...itching to go back and snatch it up.

Thanks...again Annette for your response and your lovely photos.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2014 at 12:08PM
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aftermidnight Zone7b B.C. Canada

It just said Caroline on the tag. I assumed :), as it had a couple of side branches which I cut off.

Annette

    Bookmark   June 26, 2014 at 12:48PM
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Peter1142(Zone 6b)

If you like invasive plants, I'd recommend horseradish. It's taking over my garden.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2014 at 12:52PM
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cadillactaste

Well...I must say Annette I think you have a gem with your tree. A focal point in the midst of all the beauty.
~Darlene

    Bookmark   June 26, 2014 at 1:17PM
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cadillactaste

"cadillactaste, I'm beginning to think it is. When I bought it I had visions of it climbing, winding around the arms of the plant pole. I've had it in two and a bit years, it's always loaded with flowers but have yet to have a single shoot I can train up and around the arms. It wasn't bought as a tree wisteria, are these grafted to keep them more compact, I wonder? One more year, if it doesn't start climbing....
Annette"

You could always transplant it to a focal area...and plant that wiseria vine you desired there. I do see the pole and the plant arms you mentioned...which would also look fantastic with wisteria or some other vine climbing it.

~Darlene

    Bookmark   June 26, 2014 at 1:39PM
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aftermidnight Zone7b B.C. Canada

Lol, I had a honeysuckle on the pole and then.... I saw this wisteria, still playing musical chairs with the honeysuckle. I have another wisteria climbing over a pergola, unfortunately it keeps dying back so it needs to come out, a shame as it used to bloom 3 times a year. I'll give this wisteria ONE more year and if it doesn't start climbing I'll find another spot for it. How much you want to bet it's start throwing new growth after that.

Annette

    Bookmark   June 26, 2014 at 2:12PM
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Errant_gw

I would kill to have my yard looking like that :)

    Bookmark   June 26, 2014 at 2:21PM
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cadillactaste

Annette...your winters causing the dieback? Because burlap protection I know ones have used to help prevent that from happening.

Lost many things in the yard that this year I will be surprising the neighborhood with their just wishing they had taken stock in burlap. Doing over kill on the winter protection.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2014 at 4:28PM
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aftermidnight Zone7b B.C. Canada

This is a twenty plus year old wisteria, over the last several years it slowly went down hill. We took the main trunk out two years ago there's still a wispy bit hanging on, will try throwing burlap over it this winter, if that doesn't help, it's history.

Annette

    Bookmark   June 26, 2014 at 5:42PM
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southerngardening24

Since this is just my second year gardening I haven't experienced any invasive plants yet but if it's anything like the plants in your garden then I can't wait until next season! Your garden is so beautiful!

I've never heard of persicaria bistorta either. It seem to be a plant worth looking into. I love your mass planting of them!

    Bookmark   June 26, 2014 at 11:59PM
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cadillactaste

Annette...your wisteria tree sent me over the top with wanting one...called the nursery where I picked up a weeping spiral cherry last weekend. And had spotted the wisteria tree then. To tag it as mine...I would be there tomorrow morning. It's not tall...4' most likely once planted. Though...The blooms no doubt spent...something to look forward to next spring. :)

They knew exactly who I was...not a bad thing with my being there only the one time. Lol

    Bookmark   June 27, 2014 at 5:48PM
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cadillactaste

Annette...I picked up my wisteria tree today. Should have taken photos of the other trees they had of wisteria. They had ones with multi vines that were trained and tied together to make a tree. Thing was...they had vines going off the "trained trunks" like a wild mess! Then...my single tree wisteria...had a few suckers...like a tree. It's wrapped as you see. Not sure if it's grafted or not. But...so not showing the wild crazy of the multi vine trunks. Which makes me think this must be grafted. Because they were night and day beside each other. I am thinking...you got a tree variety. If it's not growing wild vines off the trunk. Again...wish I had grabbed a photo of the ones that scared me. I think...those are the trees that the ones warned me about. But...am sure what you most likely would have liked.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2014 at 5:05PM
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aftermidnight Zone7b B.C. Canada

Ohhhh, that's a nice one, I do have a bare spot on the other side of the weeping larch. If I have to move mine I think I'll move it here and buy another one for the plant pole, but it will have to be one that has at least one flower bud on it, don't want to wait donkey's years for it to bloom :). Annette

    Bookmark   June 28, 2014 at 5:48PM
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cadillactaste

LOVE your weeping larch! Looked into one myself...but, says different things online about them. The width concerns me...5' to 15' wide I read in contradicting sites. I would love to put one beside the waterfall once the sand cherry has seen it's days. I hear they are a short lived shrub. No place other to move it...so...it's there until it's seen it's last leaf.

I think your wisteria tree would look amazing in that setting...and I don't blame you with wanting at least one flower bud on the vine. They can be quite long in expectations of seeing them.

Photo of our "newly established" flower bed...it has years before it will have reached potential. But...it's a start.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2014 at 9:16PM
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schoolhouse_gw

Does anyone let wild ageratum or jewel weed grow? or iron weed? Jo Pye? the last three I permit in or on the edges of my orchard. Also some "Wandering Jew", a common name for this wild vine-like plant with blue flowers with a yellow eye, grows in and about the brush pile.

For quite a few years now, I've had a nettle plant growing in a corner of the courtyard garden. Don't ask me why I allowed it, it just appeared one Spring and bloomed white and has grown large and up until this year somewhat contained. Now there are stalks coming up in all the wrong places, like in the middle of a hosta. Even with gloves on when you pull or cut these nettles, you can feel a burning sensation. I guess RoundUp is in order next Spring when it first emerges. Right now I'd be afraid of the spray drifting into things I want. I saw a plant or shrub at a nursery labeled "Black Nettle", with white blooms. Why is it called nettle?

    Bookmark   June 29, 2014 at 3:00PM
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Cenepk10(7B)

When I was a child- I would always pull that wandering Jew like a weed. I finally let it go- because of the gorgeous hue of the blue flower- good filler- also- I put the Ageratum in 3 years ago - when I moved in... It's a spreader for sure- but I have a large empty back yard... It was given to me by a friend who has gardened his 2 acres 30 years- his mondo grass is now his front & back lawn- the Ageratum was so pretty at his place- it wasn't anymore "invasive" than the cypress vines, passionflowers, strawberry trees, or any other number of plants taking over his GORGEOUS unkempt garden.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2014 at 10:34PM
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mnwsgal 4 MN(4)

Your garden is looking very lush and inviting, Annette.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2014 at 1:17PM
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