In The Garden: Hints From A Mrs Gardener – Garden Thugs

Submitted by Joan Regan

Nothing is as disheartening as having worked so hard getting your gardens looking just the way you like it and along comes an invasive plant – not just showing up, but taking over – and way too quickly. 

There are a few plants that we purchase or received, not knowing their history or growing patterns, and thinking “hmmm this will look nice over in that corner.” WRONG. They do not stay put. They’re brats, and they do not do as they’re told. They will head out to invade your gardens, lawns and driveways like an army of ants, and not as easy to control.

Gout Weed is probably the one that most have a problem with. This pretty variegated/sometimes all green little tinker is one that also is sold as a accent plant in some Big Box stores. Buyer beware. 

I planted some in the far corner of our yard and some other spots here and there. Luckily it has mostly stayed out of the gardens. I have had quite a bit of luck with just covering it with heavy cardboard and putting some mulch on to cover it up. 

However the other thugs are a different story, not so lucky with these guys: 

Periwinkle and Ivy – like them as a ground cover but they also seem to like the lime light. They have crept into some gardens but luckily I spotted them early and pulled them up with as many roots as I could. Ajuga is another that wants to travel. It’s not usually sold as a ground cover, more for a rock garden, but she likes to move around. With her I dig her up and move her to a more pleasant spot, a bit of soil by a rock and she will be quite happy. 

The important thing with these invasive plants is to keep on top of them. If they put one inch into your gardens they seem to be on steroids and will bully their way in way too quickly. They have to be dealt with right away.

Cranesbill, AKA perennial Geranium, also likes to travel, but at least she isn’t a gypsy and she can be attended to easy enough. It’s shallow rooted so I just give her a yank and pot her up over on the far side of the garden where I have some of the other easy to maintain spreaders. I have also put her in the rocky section – a bit of soil will keep her happy and she looks pretty in that partly shaded area. 

Yellow Archangel and Garlic Mustard are also two huge trouble makers… and I will complain about them… next issue. 

But for now, my garden is slowly waking up (too slow for my wants). A bit warmer and I will be out raking and cutting back the remnants of last years plants. So looking forward to being “In The Garden”. 

Happy spring fellow gardeners. Be safe.


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