Second Front in Garden War

“Second Front in Garden War”, a copyrighted post, was written for my WordPress blog called Always Growing by Jan in Covington, Louisiana

Grasshoppers are still attacking the garden, but there were casualties on their side since I lasted posted. I must now report on a second front that has opened in the Garden War of 2010. It is not animal foe, but plant one. I am fighting and determined to eliminate Artemisia Limelight. Don’t ever plant this stuff in the garden.

 

 

I planted this about six years ago, and it was fine for about two years, and then – trouble. I love variegated plants and this seemed perfect for the partial shade of our entry garden. At first, this seemed like a great plant for that area. Its variegated foliage brought some light and color especially in the shadier parts of the area. In winter, when so much of the garden is dormant, this was a nice addition. The cold did knock it back a bit, but in spring it came back just fine. I even transplanted some of the spreading plants. After the second year though, it became a thug. It seemed for every one plant I pulled up, three more grew in its place. Part of the problem is that when yanking this plant out, the stems break leaving the roots. Another mistake I made was that I would pull up most plants but would always leave a few because this was such an attractive plant.

Leaving a few plants was the problem. It always seemed to spread too much. The last two years, I have been pulling up the little babies, but still they kept coming. This spring I decided I would give no quarter to this plant that was invading my garden and making it look so unkempt. I have been digging up and pulling Limelight for four months, and finally, I may have it beaten. I say “may” because we have just had several days of heaving rain and that may help it come back. This afternoon when I checked, I could only find about five plants which were quickly dispatched. It seems this is a battle I may be winning.

This is such an attractive plant, and it is a shame it is so aggressive. In researching this plant, I have found I am not the only one having a problem with this particular artemisia. Learn from my mistake, don’t plant this artemisia in the garden. It may do well in a container, but beware. I have read that even then it tries to escape.

Green Velvet

“Green Velvet”, a copyrighted post, was written for my WordPress blog called Always Growing by Jan in Covington, Louisiana  

Even though we have been having several flowers showing up extra early, there still is a general lack of color in the garden.  There are a few plants just starting to leaf out, bud, or show some tiny bit of color even though it is just the end of January.  But, one bright spot is the vibrant green moss that while small, still packs a punch of color.  Nothing can beat that bright green piece of velvet found in deep shade.

 

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Moss, that low-growing, mat forming plant that is at home in shade gardens, requires shade, moisture, and is often found growing on rocks which is why they are so popular in rock gardens.  Lately, moss has been found as a desirable alternative to a lawn in shady, moist areas.  In fact, moss gardens are now on the cutting edge of gardening, and have been very popular in Japanese gardening for centuries.

 

Many people who love their lawns are horrified when they find moss in their lawns.  This usually means there is high acidity, moisture, and shade in that area.  There are many things that can be done to rectify this, but an alternative is to make a shady, moist area a moss garden.  Work with Mother Nature, not against her.  As we all become more environmentally aware, we need to think about choices we have that may require less chemicals, less work, and more enjoyment of our gardens.

 

While I just appreciate the pop of color the mosses bring in late winter, for some absolutely fantastic photos of moss used effectively in a garden, look here.  It is time we re-evaluate this lowly plant.

Oysterplants

“Oysterplants”, a copyrighted post, was written for my WordPress blog called Always Growing by Jan in Covington, Louisiana

When I attended the Garden Show in mid-October, I was again attracted to the oyster plants (tradescantia spathacea).  This is the second time I have seen them growing in the botanical gardens, and I think I will try and grow them in my garden.  They are hardy only through zone 9, and I live in zone 8 (really just on the border of 9), so I think I can risk it.  Since it rarely gets down into the low 20’s here, and zone 9 is 20 -30 degrees, they should be safe esp. if I would cover them on the rare hard freeze or plant them in a fairly protected area.  I have read of one gardener who lives in zone 8b who is able to grow it, so that is encouraging if I decide to definitely try it.

 

 

I would like to try the variegated ones.  They would make a lovely ground cover with their white, pink and green striped foliage with purple undersides.  The plant makes a rosette with leaves are about six to ten inches long.  At about eight inches high, it would make a nice thick mat.  The common variety has leavew with purple undersides and dark green on the topside.

I know they are supposed to be invasive in warm areas like Florida, but where I would like to plant them is not too fertile an area, so I don’t think I would have a problem.  They are supposed to be good in dry areas in sun to partial shade.  So, they sound like the perfect plant to try in front of the bamboo stand that is growing in the side yard.