Unwanted Guests

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


What do you do when unwanted plants show up in your garden?  And, why is it that pretty, well-behaved plants don’t suddenly appear in the garden like the bad ones do?  I have written before of how I have started to clear out the area that adjoins a neighbor who is no longer able to garden.  Invasive plants, in particular, vines have been showing up to the point it is almost overwhelming.  I am talking about Virginia creeper, wild honeysuckle, and Japanese climbing fern.

It used to be that Virginia creeper was the only problem.  It is amazing to me how fast and long this vine can grow.  It has grown up to the top of 120 foot pine trees.  The vine can also creep along  just barely under the ground and can go for twenty, thirty feet, sometimes branching off several times.  I have been pulling this up now for months, and am still seeing new shoots where the vine has broken.  I have been fighting this particular vine since we moved here over thirty years ago.  I guess I’ll never beat it completely.

A new invasive here at our house is the wild honeysuckle which has become a problem only in the last three years.  What is frustrating about this one is that when you pull on it, the outside sheath pulls away from the stem and your hands slip.  You must use gloves to pull this out.  When it does break, that usually means some digging is required because wherever the stem touches the ground, it roots.  I remember as a child there was one of these vines growing on a fence in the back yard.  We would spend a lot of time picking the flowers and then pulling the stamen out the back of the flower and finally sipping the drop of nectar that was pulled out.  I thought this was the neatest plant.  Boy!  Has my opinion changed now.




The bad thing about Japanese climbing fern is that it smothers whatever it covers, and it tries to cover everything.  It is a shame this is such a pest because this one is a very pretty plant.  I have been trying to rid my garden of this plant for over ten years, and it still keeps coming back.

I don’t like to use chemicals in the garden, so I pretty much resort just to pulling these weeds out.  I didn’t plant any of these, they just showed up.  Even the ones which are native are unwelcome in my garden.  I wish these unwanted “guests” would take the hint and leave.