Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Noxious Weeds

Larkspur blooming in my old garden. I am sure they are still there, and if not clobbered are invading my neighbors' yards too. They were initially a gift from my late friend Meredyth Colberg, superb quilt artist and even better gardener. I was happy initially to get these plants since they resembled delphiniums, which I never got to grow successfully.
The flowers are similar but the leaves are very lacy and wispy. I liked the fact that they came in blue, pink, white and even sometimes dotted.

But they showed up wherever they felt like it, reseeding at will. I was forever cursing Meredyth as I pulled them out of beds and lawns and pots where they volunteered to grow.
Now I have purchased a seed packet of just these energetic and enthusiastic flowers. Wha? Well now I have a much less tidy mindset. Things may now grow wherever they like. Please fill in the spaces, I don't mind. We seem to have endless empty spots that need color, and will hold the mud (now) and dust (later) in check.
Along those lines I have committed a gardening sin and bought an entire flat of St. John's Wort. I didn't realize that is classified as a noxious weed in many states. It is harmful to cattle if eaten, not that we have any.
I'd heard of it as a 'healthful herb' to ward off depression, but Wikipedia and other sites say not. I was attracted to it because it grows 12"tall and FIVE FEET wide. That could cover a lot of sloping hillsides. I am worried however because it spreads with underground rhizomes, and fear I will be hacking it up in the future as it invades my other beds. But I might as well plant it, as I have to outsmart the sticker bushes that now claim that territory as their own.
Here are just a few more plants that I have invested in. I bought nine small peonies at $4.50 each. The same size plant in a gallon pot was $8. I beat the system. Recently I fell in love with Autumn Joy Sedum. Dependable in a drought and lush if it has had plenty of rain. I like a nice neat mound of plant, so they really fit the bill. I am also investing in artemisia. I have three varieties now, and could see myself becoming a collector, as I am with hosta, hardy geraniums (cranesbill), and heuchera (coral bells). I never imagined I would be so enthralled with foliage plants as I have become. Dependability ranks high with me.
It is so satisfying to walk about and examine what is sprouting and contemplate what the previous owner had in mind when she planted stuff where she did. I have two Carolina Jessamine vines that will have to be moved as they are way too sprawling for the small box they are in. And shade plants that are in full sun must be switched with things that need sun. There is a lilac growing right in the same spot as a way too shady a spot for lilacs. O dear.

On the other hand, the Master Gardener (God, not me) has picked the perfect spot for these darling woodland violets. A lovely silvery green leaf and yellow dainty flowers. Free.

How divine!


  1. Anonymous7:08 AM


    Goats love St. John's Wort. If it gets out of hand, bring a few goats in:)

    Love what you're doing with the place!!!

  2. Goats and peacocks. What a hoot that would be.

    That little yellow violet is so sweet. My favorite flowers are lilies of the valley. Are the invited?

  3. Be careful with the artemesia too. It could cover your hillside in a year or two also! I had to rip mine out because it was taking over the bed it was in.

    LOVE the gardening posts. I've yet to start on mine this spring. I'm living vicariously.

  4. Your violet photos are fabulous! You are going to have a gorgeous garden!!

  5. I had a lot of trouble with the tall artemisia too but the little mound ones didn't spread. Love the yellow violets (and coral bells, hosta, and hardy geraniums).
    Are St. John's wart or artemisia deer repellers?

  6. I'm in Vermont, and my Autumn Joy Sedum is a beast. It's beautiful (its saving grace) but would gladly take over my entire (7 acre) yard given the chance.

    I have freckled wood violets, but my favourite "weeds" are the Trout Lilies we'll see in another month or so.

  7. that little violet is indeed divine... looks like you've covered all my favorites in your planting scheme, peonies, lilacs.. thank you! and I have to ask with your sis - are lilies of the valley invited?

  8. Marcie9:47 AM

    I'm following your new garden mania with interest, and not a little envy - down here in southern Australia, we are still in drought, no water for the garden. It's been surprising what survives, though. Artemisia is undaunted, and violets (the ordinary purple ones) survive. Love those yellow ones of yours. Forget-me-nots make good cover, and come up every year.


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