Lily of the Valley ate my Hosta21/07/2012 11:04
Newman,a character on the TV show Seinfeld,once referred to broccoli,not his favourite vegetable,as a vile weed.George Bush senior wasn't too fond of it himself.I myself love broccoli.My vile weed is Lily of the Valley.
Oh sure,I'm fully aware that many of you just love Lily of the Valley.Mostly for its nodding,fragrant flowers.I get that.But what else does it have to offer?Besides its short bloom time and brown, ratty looking leaves in the summer I mean.
I'll tell you what else it has to offer.It has the ability to propagate itself faster than a rabbit on Viagra.It can spread across the ground faster than a tsunami and devour everything in its path like those army ants Charlton Heston once battled in that movie,Naked Jungle.Not even Heston would have a chance against this stuff.If we ever do discover life on Mars,I guarantee it will be Lily of the Valley.The vacuum of space,would be no barrier to it.
In the world of invasive plants,this vigorous grower is a world champion.I tried containing a patch of it with an underground plastic barrier and it jumped over it like an Olympic hurdler.I raised the barrier a bit and it tunneled under it as swiftly as that machine that dug the Chunnel.
There were no French people on the other side of my barrier,just my favourite Hosta.I had turned my back on that vile weed for less than six weeks and in that short period of time it got through my barrier and devoured my poor Hosta.Choked it out completely.It didn't have a chance.The only thing that was left was a garden center tag saying,Hosta 'Blue Angel' $15.99.I stood there staring in disbelief at a carpet of Lily of the Valley where a short while ago my Hosta had grown proudly.This is war,I said to myself.I had been battling this aggresive weed on steroids for years and Lord knows it had dispatched with many of my other plants just as ruthlessly but darn it,I loved that Hosta.I picked up the garden center tag and laid it gently in a box where I still keep it for sentimental reasons.RIP Blue Angel Hosta.I shall avenge you.
Ok yes,Lily of the Valley has its uses.It can tolerate those difficult to grow shady areas under trees and it does well in poor soil.Heck,it can practically grow in concrete.However,that's my issue with it;it grows well.Too well.
I have another invasive plant,Artemisia,that is now spreading like crazy but I like it.It has nice,silver-green, fern like foliage all season long.That's the difference.What we call invasive plants,are for the most part,fast growing spreaders.But if one likes the plant in guestion,those can be desirable traits.If not,those traits are undesirable.One gardeners garbage is another gardeners treasure.
Well,my fight continues.It's only early May and the Lily of the Valley is popping up every where like a Jack in the Box.I've lost many battles with it but I hope to win the war.However,I need to be realistic.It's one tough plant.It has rhizomes and roots that go down two feet.If one little piece is left in the ground,it will soon be back stronger than ever,choking out other plants around it.If I stand still too long it may do away with me as it did my Hosta.One day you may come along and there will be nothing left of me but a wrist watch in a field of Lily of the Valley.No one will ever know what happened to me.I will have vanished like Amelia Earhart.But after reading this,you will know.If it does happen,perhaps you could keep my watch in a box for sentimental reasons.