A lot of perennials are very good value for money, and many enter gardens unwittingly via friendly donation or cheap plant sale acquisition, but once established, are there for life. Here are just some of the got-them-forever plants with which I have a love-hate relationship in my garden, snapped on a quick run around early this morning:
Anapahalis (this one is A. margaritacea, I think)(Pearl Everlasting).
Fabulous silver-grey foliage with small white flowers in late summer, but it runs and runs and runs! Either accept it as a ground cover plant or, as I do, chop round the clump each spring with a spade and meticulously pull out any stray runners.
Artemisia should be treated the same way.
Two other love-hate plants are in this photo – can you guess which ones I am referring to?
Convallaria majalis (Lily of the Valley).
Fabulous scent and not always easy to establish in the garden but, if it likes your soil conditions it soon creeps and creeps to form a scented blanket in spring. I am currently mowing it out of the lawn…
Euphorbia cyparissias ‘Fens Ruby’.
This one is a not a runner, it GALLOPS around the garden, and is very useful as ground cover for tricky areas, being happy in both shade and sun, poor and good soils.
In spring its acid yellow flowers are great for livening up shady areas but it gets into EVERYTHING, as you can see in the photo!
Meconopsis cambrica (Welsh Poppy).
Dainty early flowering wee poppy that comes in both yellow and orange forms that look striking when intermingles BUT it seeds like you would’t believe and, as even tiny plants have a long tap root, is really hard to remove once it gets into the borders. I dead head ruthlessly, and haul plants out, but each year I have more. This may appear in your garden on the wind, as the seeds are tiny.
Pretty blue flower that looks fantastic with Primula vulgaris but, like the Welsh Poppy, it seeds prolifically! I pull it out before it has finished flowering to try to keep the population down in the garden, but I still have seedlings everywhere!
Lovely in woodland borders and useful spring interest under mature shrubs.
Papaver lateritium (Armenian Poppy).
This was in my garden when I moved here 11 years ago, under a beech hedge, and I felt sorry for it and moved some into one of the new borders … ARGHHHH! The brick red flowers look amazing the day they open, but soon age and fall apart, leaving red snow everywhere. The wiry flower stems are always twisted and floppy and the plant spreads vast distances via runners.
I have a constant war with this plant, but it is most definitely having the last laugh.
Tellima grandiflora (Fringe Cups).
Great plant for shady, woodland areas or sunny, dry borders and a heavenly scent from the tiny, fringed flowers in early summer. But, it is another prolific seeder. This plant has established itself next to the compost bin, no doubt when I was discarding one of its parents.
Knowledge is key when dealing with invasive/seeding plants and I don’t introduce them into client’s gardens without a full health warning to those who are prepared to weed out the progeny.