- Author: Betsy Buxton
Here I am again, with my tales of plant woes and the weeds which torment me! Only this time I come with a warning about a plant sold at the nurseries, big box stores, and “helpful folk” who feel that you cannot live any longer without a certain plant(s) that they must share with you!
A good case in point is a plant with beautiful and large pink flowers is sold by the 6-pack ‘Mexican Evening Primrose' or Oenothera speciosa. Among its attributes (according to Sunset) “Good groundcover . . . . but can be aggressive and is potentially invasive”. Aggressive?? Potentially invasive?? That is the understatement not only of the year but of the century!! From a mere 6-pack, I raised 5 of those little ‘darlings' which have multiplied into a full 1/3 of an acre and are not only humming their way across the ground but in my pots of succulents as well. I even have found seedlings growing in the pots hanging at the top of the uprights of the fence. Invasive – not much – if there is nothing else growing back there. The only place I do not have them is next to the neighbor's fence – there the Bermuda grass coming under the fence from the other side is holding those darn things at bay!
This is also the year of the Scarlet pimpernel (Anagallis arvensis), which is growing up all over the place, just as though it had been planted among my roses. I just pulled one up that was over 14 inches long; good thing I do not fertilize that area, or they would be draped over the roses like red and white laces. According to my weed book, I can look forward to its flowering from March through July (oh glory!) unless I can yank it out. Since it is not a monocot, anything I spray it with will also affect the roses too. Thus, the yank, yank and dig, dig of the roots.
All is not lost, however, as this is the 2nd year that my lilac has bloomed! For 20 years, since it was planted, that lonely lilac has sent up shoots with green leaves, only leaves, looking sorta-kinda like a lilac but just increasing the size of its puny circle of shoots and leaves; BUT starting last year, a few mighty small sprigs of flowers (2 to be exact) have been coming forth. For this year, 6 – count ‘em 6 – slightly sprigs have appeared to grace that part of the yard with fragrance! Talk about the surprise being the best of all. The Dichelostemma (firecracker plant) bulbs are coming up and have large buds which will turn into elongated flowers which are bright red and that look and hang down just like firecrackers.
Going back to thoughts of weeds, reminds me that doing my diligent plucking has reduced the grass weeds in the north side yard to pulling 1-3 small grass plants to every 3rd day. Now all I need to do is go and apply the same tactics of pulling and spraying to get that area ready for the roses and penstemons that are patiently awaiting their time to go from pots into the ground. Someday, someday!