What do you wish you never planted?

amyh_sps(7/8 South Thurston Co. WA)March 10, 2008

I saw this posting for a different region in the U.S. but still read through it anyway. There was a lot of good advice! So... I would like to know what people here in the PNW have planted that they wish they never had and why! I recently just ripped out a lot of Vinca Major from my front walkway garden, it started spreading too much and looked too messy. Last year was my first time planting a real garden, and now I've already ripped something out that I didn't like!

Please share so we can all learn from each other's mistakes!

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Mary Palmer

Lysimachia nummularia 'Aurea' and Galium odoratum and Acanthus mollis. I like the Acanthus but I think I will have it forever as they seem to root fairly deep and a small piece of broken root makes a new plant!!!!
But all said, there is nothing I can't get rid of if I really set my mind to it!!!!
Fever Few showed up one year and I had not planted it. It was kind of pretty but I knew it would be a problem if I left it to seed. After a few years of agressive weeding, I rarely see a plant. There really are no mistakes. It just depends on how much time you are willing to put in to removing seedlings or root pieces! I personally feel that self seeder are the hardest to get rid of rather than things that spread by rhizomes...... and I have removed a lot of aggressive ground covers including dwarf bamboos, which I feel are easy to remove! I am sure you will get other opinions! cheers & Happy Gardening

    Bookmark   March 10, 2008 at 11:19PM
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knotz(8/PNW SWWA)

Yucky Yuccas!!...I planted too many too close together and can't get rid of them!!

    Bookmark   March 11, 2008 at 12:21AM
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buyorsell888(Zone 8 Portland OR)

Lily of the Valley, Sweet Woodruff, Grape Hyacinths (the common one, the fancier ones are fine)

Purple Leaf Plum 'Blerieana' prone to diseases, pests and wind and ice damage....

    Bookmark   March 11, 2008 at 12:22AM
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Oxalis carnosa in the greenhouse.... kind of a cool weed though.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2008 at 12:48AM
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aftermidnight Zone7b B.C. Canada

Although the pink poker like flowers are very pretty, Persicaria superbum, this plant has spread into the most unlikely places, I'm forever yarding it out.


    Bookmark   March 11, 2008 at 11:08AM
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Bishops weed. It was in one area of our yard when we moved in. Before I knew better I transplanted it to a few other areas. Big mistake!
Japanese anenome and sweet woodruff have also gotten out of hand no matter how I try to control it.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2008 at 5:17PM
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novita(SWB.C. z8)

"Baby's Tears" (Soleirolla) creeps EVERYWHERE and chokes other plants, can't get rid of it. Also something called "Wire Vine" should be kept in a pot!
I find things that creep by roots harder to deal with, don't mind plants that seed themselves at all.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2008 at 8:25PM
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sedum_gal(z8, Seattle)

...Euphorbia robbiae, Galium odoratum, Linaria 'Canon J. Went' and L. purpurea, Impatiens glandulifera, Viola labradorica, the list goes on...

Fortunately, after much time and persistence, I've managed to rid my garden of most of these thugs. I do still find the occasional seedling in some out-of-the-way spot, however.

I'm thinking of yanking my Linaria triornithophora. It's rhizomes are spreading at an alarming rate. Anyone else have experience with this one?

    Bookmark   March 12, 2008 at 12:48PM
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Each tree that has died I wish I hadn't planted. But there was no way to know ahead of time. Frustrating to spend a lot of time and money on something that croaks.

Planted many varieties of vinca. Couldn't imagine it growing; everything was so desolate. But that stuff goes everywhere. It's very pretty and is flowering now. But it goes into other plants and smothers them. I just have to get busy cutting and pulling to free some azaleas etc. It will require vigilance. 3X a year to keep it from attacking.

There are some weeds here, didn't plant them of course but I find I'm starting to not mind pulling weeds. The horsetails are starting to come up and getting rid of those will be a full-time job for the next few months.

Planted some rose bushes that were given as gifts. They're rather finicky and don't give year-round beauty. Probably wouldn't have bought so many. I must be crazy to not love roses in the Rose City. Sure the blooms are nice and fragrant but the plant isn't the best.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2008 at 1:57PM
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Patrick888(z8 SeaTac WA)

I could almost say "ditto" to sedumgal's list! I have no linaria however and so far, my violets haven't run rampant.
I have a pot of bishop's weed from my mom's yard I hang onto for sentimental reasons, but haven't had the nerve to turn it loose anywhere in my yard!


    Bookmark   March 14, 2008 at 2:08PM
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In my vegetable garden I wish I had contained my horseradish plants. I have had to give away (far away) most seedlings and it is only through very deep digging through every square inch of one plot have I almost (I say that quietly) gotten rid of what I wouldn't use. I have since surrounded it like I have had to do with any mint plants. Thanks for all the other warnings here. When your gardens are young you want to see them filled with plants but then you are digging out the re- seeders forever! Salmonlady4

    Bookmark   March 14, 2008 at 3:10PM
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sea_jen(Zone 8, Seattle)

Euphorbia cyparissias Fens RubyƂ. I love my other euphorbias (even E. robbiae which definitely spreads, but can be kept under control by pulling up the strays). Fens Ruby looked so pretty, but it spread all over my front yard including colonizing much of the grass. It strangled some other plants. It looks crappy in the fall - other Euphorbias are evergreen, but it turns yellow and all the little leaves fall off. Two years after "completely removing" it, I'm still pulling up massive clumps.

I also wish that the person who lived in my house before me had never planted fennel. Six years later I'm still getting stray shoots.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2008 at 4:08PM
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    Bookmark   April 27, 2008 at 9:58PM
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Brazilian verbena

    Bookmark   April 27, 2008 at 11:40PM
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flowerfan2(z8/ WA)

Euphorbia fen's Ruby, golden hops, balsam, sorrel, dead nettle, and alstroemeria. I have been pulling and spraying a lot this spring. Hopefully I will have most of them gone by the end of the summer.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2008 at 12:44AM
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daphnexduck(Z8 Tacoma, WA)

Dead nettle. I didn't even plant it. Just bought a pre-planted container that had some in it. Left it outside and was happy to see that the dead nettle lived over the winter in the pot. It then spread ALL over, even jumping across my driveway!

    Bookmark   April 28, 2008 at 11:58AM
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hemnancy(z8 PNW)

Lamiastrum galeobdolon, Archangel
Geranium Herb Robert
Lemon Balm but it does make a healthful tea

    Bookmark   April 28, 2008 at 7:09PM
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westgate(8b Brit.Col.)

Lily of the Valley, Lily of the Valley, Lily of the Valley!

    Bookmark   April 29, 2008 at 11:18PM
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pacnwgrdngirl(z8 WA)

The person the lived here before me planted Herb Robert, Yuck, that stuff smells nasty and comes up everywhere! I am forever getting rid of it. I've also transplanted woodland violets from the woods and they pop up everywhere but I do like them. I can live with those. Like daphne I bought a container with dead nettle in it a few years ago. Still, I am finding that stuff everywhere.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2008 at 11:08AM
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Ditto to sedum gal's post. Plus those darn yellow belgium poppies that my neighbor gave me. Pretty poison.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2008 at 11:14PM
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Double ditto on the dead nettle, that stuff just won't die! Sweet woodruff, hitched a ride into my garden with some starts from a friend's garden! Now what kind of friend doesn't warn you about that pretty little garden thug!

    Bookmark   May 1, 2008 at 1:19AM
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juniorballoon(Z8a WA)

Bamboo. Anyone want some? It's not a special variety, just plain old green, runner bamboo. I catually love the way it looks, but not the way it spreads. Not that it matters, but we inherited it from the previous owners.


    Bookmark   May 1, 2008 at 3:17PM
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Ornamental Strawberry. It was hard work pulling it out and I have a strong feeling it will be baaaaaccckkk. We also have ivy, which served a purposed when we had no sun, but now that area is full sun and I want the ivy gone. :-(

    Bookmark   May 1, 2008 at 11:15PM
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Ivy and Lily of the Valley.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2008 at 11:19PM
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This is what I wish OTHER people had never planted:

Geranium "herb robert" very pretty lacy leaves and little pink flowers but what a stench!! Catbox and old socks combined and self-seeds everywhere.

Then dead nettle (Lamium ...) this has spread all over a road - about a quarter mile and still marching on - on Maury Island and is choking native plants.

And ditto English ivy - it's crawling all over Vashon Island and killing trees - it's horrible! Crews of volunteers are out constantly ripping it out but still it's covering trees and choking them. It's hard to monitor the forest.

Then in my garden there's the alstromeria previous owner planted 22 years ago that still comes up no matter how much I pull it! A brassy ugly gold flower. The Japanese anemone also still coming up in the middle of the lawn where the flower bed used to be - but I like it. Just keep digging and moving.

Finally, nobody has mentioned using a plant in the wrong place - I planted a Clematis montana near a small deck which it engulfs on a regular basis!

    Bookmark   May 1, 2008 at 11:28PM
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Okay, I've got one more which I discovered is slowly taking over my front flower bed. It's adenophora (sp?) Lady bells. It's pretty, but I've been spending weeks digging out roots and runners!! It spreads by runners and seeds and is just everywhere. I'm researching what I buy from now on!!

    Bookmark   May 2, 2008 at 12:40AM
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This is why we shouldn't plant things that are totally hardy for our climate. Who knows when you might want to get rid of them! LOL.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2008 at 12:48AM
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Beware of Comfrey:
Some guy was praising it up to me a few years ago for all sorts of health benefits, so I planted a couple in my Garden. More recently I've read that there are some toxins in the leaves. It spreads by seed, and root cutting. Rototilling creates a population explosion and it is almost impossible to kill--- even with herbicides. The tap root is over 3 foot long on a mature plant. It is an attractive plant for a weed but can really take over. The purple strain gets about 3 foot high and the white ones about 2 feet high. I have kept on purple/white hybrid by the fence, but don't plant Comfrey.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2008 at 4:04PM
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lisa51417(WA state)

Funny, a lot of the things that seem to be going rampant in Seattle (Lily of the Valley, Sweet Woodruff) do just fine here in Index because it's not such a perfect climate for them. When I was in Seattle, the plant I regretted most was Vinca Minor.

Here in Index, I'm having a problem with a particular oregano that was given to me by a friend. It has no flavor (I can't find any culinary use for it at all) but it spreads like CRAZY!

I'm forever pulling up Herb Robert, but I don't think anyone ever planted it (anywhere in the Northwest) -- it's just a weed, and it pops up everywhere. After reading all the complaints about Dead nettle (also a weed here) I'll be more careful with it. I've been letting it go, but this year I've noticed a lot of new sprouts! English Ivy is just bad news -- an invasive species that's nearly impossible to get rid of. We already lost one tree to it (we hadn't noticed it being strangled to death until it was too late -- so a 40' Hemlock just bellied up).

    Bookmark   May 3, 2008 at 10:24PM
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missjulied(Seattle (8))

passionvine! It's everywhere now!

    Bookmark   May 23, 2008 at 5:46PM
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jodifromoregon(z5, central OR)

Years ago when I was young and stupid, I bought a "mystery herb" at clearance price from a table of plants with labels missing at the nursery because I thought it was "pretty." Turned out to be a sage, and remnants/reseeds of the stupid thing have since popped up literally all over our property. I can't get rid of it for the life of me.

Also: Homestead Purple Verbena, but not for the same reason at all: It had reseeded itself for a few years after I first planted the one I bought... but I absolutely fell in love with it, and it stopped showing up in my gardens a few years back. Now I can't find that particular variety anywhere to save my life. Anyone have some they would send me? I miss it so much! :-)

    Bookmark   May 23, 2008 at 11:09PM
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blheron(7 and 8)

Wild Geranium---don't know the botanical name but it's the one with the lacy leaves and little pink flowers. Neighbor gave me ONE small plant---now it's in EVERY bed, empty container, and I swear will grow in the gutters! At least it's easy to pull!

I planted Sweet Woodruff because I thought it smelled like Sweet Grass (love that smell) and Oxalis in my Native Plant Garden. (Am I going to regret this???) It has taken over, but the only plant I have ever had that actually controls the Johnson Grass the former owner managed to bring in. I was told they used to go collect "topsoil" from river bottoms and it came in that. After 35 years it still takes over ever bed in the yard and garden. Microscopic pieces of the VERY long white roots will sprout new shoots. Been fighting it for years! If I transplant something from one bed to a "clean one," no matter how careful, it follows!

Didn't plant the ivy, but spent years pulling it! BAD NEWS!!! Still finding it! My neighbor also has holly trees that show up everywhere!

Vinca Minor? Can't hardly get it to grow, LOL! Guess it all depends on conditions and location!


    Bookmark   May 30, 2008 at 8:28PM
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mkirkwag(Puget Sound)

New England Aster! Turns out I don't like them at all and they never, never leave. Plus they spend the whole summer coming up and looking unattractive while they do it. Also, I wish I hadn't planted blue star creeper in the planters...I love it, but it's taken over the planters completely and there's no unravelling it from the established plants.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2008 at 9:55PM
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"ice dance" sedge. My but that stuff spreads and it is a lot of work to keep after it. I planted it because it was on the Northwest Best Picks list - yikes!

My house is next to a cemetary. There is a green belt between that is just full of the most horrid weeds: ivy, herb robert, vinca, buttercup, shot weed and forget-me-nots.

I am also unhappy with the emerald carpet I planted. It does a good job of covering over bald spots, but it doesn't know when to quit.

This is a good thread. I had been planning to plant golden hops, but now I won't. I have tried hard to grow clematis montana without any luck or maybe I was lucky after all.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2008 at 10:05PM
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sedum! The standard green sedum -- it's *SO* invasive. It seems to grow by the day. It will go not only up to and through other plants, but climb up them, somehow. I've stopped trying to give it away and now just throw away what I pull almost every week.

I also don't love the four o'clocks. Can't make them go away.

I couldn't get the sweet woodruff to stay alive in my yard--maybe because it was in a very dry area? Or because it was near a tree with verticillium wilt?

    Bookmark   June 1, 2008 at 12:50AM
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    Bookmark   November 1, 2011 at 6:03PM
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buyorsell888(Zone 8 Portland OR)

I'm still pulling lily of the valley, sweet woodruff and grape hyacinths. Spanish bluebells too. Have given away on Craig's List and here but still can't get rid of all of them.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2011 at 9:17PM
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vinca minor

Sorry if the spelling is off, but here is my list:
verbena bonariensis
euphorbia robbiae
linaria purpurea
digitalis ferruginea
blue star creeper
impatiens balfourii
saxifraga stolonifera

    Bookmark   November 3, 2011 at 10:08PM
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Lychnis coronaria ---rose champion

    Bookmark   November 6, 2011 at 9:34AM
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Petasites! I was growing tropical plants and wanted large leaves---so now, I have large-leaved petasites all over my yard, raised beds, vegetable garden---and you cannot dig them out! Number 2 would be a large euphorbia that I cannot remember the Latin name for. It grows about 5-6 ft tall and is spectacular as a large shrub, but it also seeds all over the yard, so I have large clumps of euphorbia everywhere, and I can't give it away, no matter how I try.

    Bookmark   January 1, 2012 at 10:52PM
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    Bookmark   January 10, 2012 at 3:03PM
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madrone(VancIsl BC)

Oxalis, impossible to get out!
Euphorbia robbiae, ditto!!
Hypericum (inherited from previous owner)

    Bookmark   January 10, 2012 at 6:12PM
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Without a doubt, Russian Comfrey. Got a root piece a few years ago and put some in my Vineyard. It is very difficult to eradicate and if you chop a root you get several new plants in the same spot. it also spreads gradually by seed. If you do grow it, keep it in a large container.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2012 at 12:04PM
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English Ivy, and the rest of the Hedera 'Ivy' plants are a plague once they start climbing trees. On the noxious weed list in several counties now.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2012 at 3:37PM
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"rose champion" above should be "rose campion".

There are many rose champions named in Portland in June during the Rose Festival.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2012 at 11:41PM
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Arum italicum - It self-seeds like crazy, and the bulbs are so deep, you can't get them out. It's taken over my former vegetable garden. The only positives are tropical-looking fleshy green leaves in winter, and interesting berries in summer.

Uncontained mint - It took over, and doesn't come true from self-seeding. The 2nd generation stinks like B.O. Removing the 4" mat of roots and soil was back-breaking work.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2013 at 7:41PM
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My list changes, moving from Vancouver WA to Battleground WA, even though they are not that far apart.

In my Vancouver yard, Bishopweed / Aegopodium podagraria is very invasive. It was there when I moved here 13 years ago and 13 years of pulling digging and chickens eating it have still not eradicated it. Last year I was sick and couldn't pull it out and it took over again.

Violets are somewhat invasive but I like them.

Spanish bluebells / Hyacinthoides hispanica were also here when I moved to Vancouver and I've never been able to eradicate them. Second to those, Muscari.

But now moving, in my Battleground place deer eat so many plants. They stayed away from the Hyacinthoides, so I'm glad they are there and actually moved some from the old place. Something eats the muscari, so I can't even get those started.

Folks list lily of the valley. I can't get it established. I read deer don't eat it, which would be nice.

I wish I didn't plant apricot trees because whenever they start to bloom there is a hard frost that kills them. I wish I didn't plant genetic dwarf peaches because they get such bad leaf curl disease, they bloom and are filled with buds then everything dies and they look terrible, then they start to recover and start that whole cycle again.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2013 at 2:01PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

If you have deer or rabbits etc. you need to fence them out or it will be a constant trial. Deer even eat arborvitaes, will rub velvet off using other conifers - so going to having just lawn and conifers still doesn't remove the problems completely.

    Bookmark   December 17, 2013 at 3:17AM
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You can't even avoid them in death, as they commonly browse the local cemeteries.

    Bookmark   December 17, 2013 at 11:20PM
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dottyinduncan(z8b coastal BC)

I bought plants labelled, "Sweet Peppers" many, many years ago at a church plant sale. I'd never grown peppers before so didn't know what they looked like. Well, they turned out to be Deadly Nightshade and I am still pulling them out. It was a real lesson for me and I never buy anything from a suspect source -- good nurseries are worth their keep!

    Bookmark   December 18, 2013 at 2:02AM
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George Three LLC

agreed on the nightshade front. i planted "wonderberry" in my garden.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2013 at 1:53PM
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lol, we had sweet woodruff and lily-of-the-valley growing up, but over the years I've lost both. Don't really want them back, but they didn't persist here once the water was turned off.

Now you folks saying "dead nettle", are you talking about Lamium species (Lamium maculatum is the most commonly offered, though I've seen others in the area, and L. purpureum is a cool little invasive annual with purple leaves on top in earliest spring), or are you talking about Lamiastrum galeobdonicum, what is also called "Yellow Archangel" (and a worse misnomer I have never heard for a plant, that is as near evil as a plant can get...)

Lamium I like, Lamiastrum I have been fighting for years. Brought a pot home, rescued from the dumpster at a nursery i used to work at. Thought it was pretty, so when it started spreading under the rhodies I didn't mind too much. Then it spread UNDER the deck, coming up through the slats. Ugh. Been spending quite a bit of time and effort trying to get it off my property, and covertly ripping out hunks of it on the neighbor's rental property too.

Anyone else try growing Birdsfoot Trefoil? When I first started gardening 20 some odd years ago, I thought it was a pretty native, so brought a piece of it home. It was cool how it would kind of weave in between the other plants in the rockery. Then I found out it not only wasn't native, but it was an official noxious invasive. Haven't been able to get it out from between the rocks in 15 years of careful weeding. It really is a lovely cheerful thing though...

I have comfrey in the back, lots of it in dry shade. Its now fighting with the Oxalis, another thug. It will be interesting to see who wins. So far the comfrey is, but I may start ripping it apart in places. Did you know its used in England as a compost starter? Apparently it tends to concentrate phosphorus in the leaves, making it a good thing to round out the nutrient profile in compost. I can do that, lol.

Herb Robert, according to local lore, was first introduced into the Washington Park Arboretum in Seattle as an easy annual for dry shade. It quickly turned into a weed and has been passed along unintentionally by foot and fur far and wide. Winter is the best time to get a leg up on the persistent little buggers. Apparently the spring loaded seed heads can shoot the seeds as far as twenty feet. I can attest that is as much up as out, since they regularly jump the neighbor's fence. Unless neighborhood cats and squirrels are acting as the vectors...

I have a love-hate relationship with lemon-balm. I love the herb and use it quite often (as pesto with hazelnuts and white cheddar, on baked fish, in stews... ) but the darn thing is just wayyyy too invasive. There is no way I can use everything I weed out, so most of it ends up in the yard waste bin. I don't trust it not to regenerate.

Now if we want to talk hitch hikers... Gallium aparine (bestraw) showed up a few years ago... damn thing seeds itself like crazy and is hard to pull out since its weak stems break before you are can get the root, and the root regenerates in nothing flat. At least its an annual, unlike sweet woodruff, so I have a prayer of getting in front of it if I can just keep the tops pulled before they set seed.

Herb robert, popweed, creeping buttercups, sheep sorrel, they all came in on their own. Ivy, holly and laurel seed themselves regularly, too, and the occasional cotoneaster from my neighbor's bank of it. Oh, and the "bird cherries" (many of which are probably from the red-leaved plum on the corner of the property). Lawn grasses... that damn "orchard grass" that smothers everything in sight, and loves to come up in t he middle of my Fescues.

Now a couple I am watching carefully? Just bought a pot of Nicotiana mutabilis, which has a rep for spreading aggressively from seed. I also have seed of Salvia subrotunda for the hummingbirds I may try and grow, but it also apparently self-seeds, and as an annual that always makes me nervous. Verbena bonariensis didn't persist in my yard, but a neighbor got (from mine?) it and it seeded there for a number of years. Luckily I think they liked it, lol.

    Bookmark   December 31, 2013 at 5:38PM
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horseradish. well not that I planted the horseradish but rather that I planted it in the my garden directly with all my other veggies ... then proceeded to rototill the garden AND THE HORSERADISH plant inbto and thru-out the whole complete every single inch of the garden. did I mention that all there is needed to grow a horseradish plant is but a little teeny tiny spec of a previous plant. now imagine a zillion little weeds growing thru-out the whole complete every single inch of the garden that are in reality horseradish plants LOL!

    Bookmark   January 2, 2014 at 1:03AM
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Stay away from Russian Comfrey, unless you put it in a container and prevent it from going to seed.

    Bookmark   January 4, 2014 at 1:02PM
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