Aloe(?)…Good-bye!

There are some things I will not do. Oh, sure, vote for a Republican is one of them. But this is not about politics. It is about forming a landscape that is friendly and inclusive. It is democratic in that it gives those plants that show a readiness to cooperate with their neighbors to provide the most good to the environment. These include immigrants like petunias, certain shrubs, many perennials like hostas and viburnum, and up to a point, the “INVASIVES” !!!

These lovelies include English Ivy, vincas, Peruvian four-o’clocks (Mirabilis jalapa, the marvel of Peru), and other plants that caught my eye and have caught me short ever since. They are impossible to remove completely, and persistent to the point of frustration and stress.

Image result for yuccaAdd to this list the Yucca (Yucca filamentosa) or Spanish Bayonet. I am here taking a poetic license and loosely referring to this specimen as aloe, which it’s maybe vaguely related to. This plant is not an aloe; it is a type of plant whose roots can be cooked but it is actually not an agave.

Enough of the science. The fact is, it is persistent.

One fine day, I realized it was out of control, in the wrong place and completely dominating an area which I wanted to switch over to a low-growing attraction to welcome us home. Pitchfork in hand, I pulled the plants from their places, handing some over to a neighbor who appreciated the gift.

spring plants and new curb gardens 5-17-9A few days later, some fresh green shoots appeared, and turned out to be connected to a tubular object under the mulch and topsoil, shooting its invasive sprouts up up and away.

If only it were more cooperative. Most deep-rooted and scary invasives are indeed possible to remove. Crab-grass comes to mind. Like crabgrass, Yucca grows from pieces left behind.

So the lesson here is – don’t use Yucca for a cute little decoration. It will take over, albeit attractively for a bit, and be impossible to remove by yourself. Instead, plant some natives like I have started to do.

new garden w cut off joe pye weed head 5-17-3Like in politics, a deep-rooted idea or ideal is difficult to root out. But rooted out it is less destructive and our lives will be simpler. We don’t need to worry about nasty underground movements sabotaging our efforts at being ornamental gardeners with our interest in supporting our environment.

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