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I bet you think you are a responsible gardener!


I thought i was too, until i learned about the huge number of really damaging plants that escape our gardens into wildlands where they do not belong.

Most everyone knows about ecological havoc of rabbits in New Zealand, African snakes let go in the Everglades, even aligators in the sewers of new york. but a lot of innocent-seeming plants still in commerce are being imported and propgated in the wildlands of Oregon and Washington where they don’t have natural enemies.

A good example is lathyrus latifolia. I have been fighting this noxious weed on my farm for years. it is perennial, and spreads by rhizoimes and seeds, and is just about impossible to controll by anything except herbicide.

I was shocked to find it for sale at garden sites as “grow the beautiful pea that jefferson grew” the worst part, is every part of the plant is toxic, but especially the peas, which have causes human fatalities. It has robbed over an acre of my pasture , which i try my best to manage without chemicals. It’s creeping into the understory of southwest oregons. forests where it smothers native plants, creates a huge fire hazard, and steals food from wild animals.

this plant is illegal to sell in oregon, but it is still being touted as “a great garden plant”. gardeners, you think you are green, but citiots are planting all sorts of plants that do damage when propogated outside of their native environments and then those same citiots (citiot = city person + idiot) get mad when farmers need to reach for herbcide to control them because “they aren’t green”.
PLEASE DO NOT PLANT EVERLASTING PEAS!! Please educate yourself about what you are planting.

More blog posts by debbieweedlady



Very interesting, thanks for the advice !

10 Jul, 2010


Fascinating... thank you...

10 Jul, 2010


''Despite its lack of scent, this perennial relative of the sweet pea is justifiably popular for the masses of pink flowers which it produces from summer to early autumn. The Royal Horticultural Society have recognised its outstanding excellence with its prestigious Award of Garden Merit (AGM).''

Debbieweedl, have just found this quote above on the BBC website, thought you would be interested to see.

10 Jul, 2010


Years ago I had an everlasting pea but found it untidy so I got rid. Can't say I remember it being difficult though. I've seen them in gardens but always as a small plant, never the less I'll take note of what you say and if I see one for sale I'll question the shop.

10 Jul, 2010


Oh is that what 'everlasting Pea' looks like. My neighbour 2 doors away has something which looks just like it. I have been admiring it from my bedroom window, I notice it comes up every year in the same spot and has not got bigger, from afar I thought it looks pretty.

10 Jul, 2010


I've been trying to grow them for years but they just will not grow here. However I have seen them in other people's gardens and they don't spread like you say. Maybe you have a climate that suits their growth better.

10 Jul, 2010


I recently posted a photo of this plant, it grows against a wall by the garage at my Mums, has never been invasive, just a bit untidy and needs tying to keep it looking half decent. It self-seeded many years ago, dies down each year and returns in just the same spot next year. It's on page 2 of my photos, third row down and Mum and I love the colour !

10 Jul, 2010


I visited a well known open garden near here last year and they grew perennial sweet peas on several arches. They are considered short lived perennials over here. I would need more evidence before I accepted this Im afraid as I could find nothing detrimental for the UK?

10 Jul, 2010


I see in your profile that you're "on a mission to inform us" about being more careful about the plant that we grow and propagate which is interesting.

I've never seen or even read anything detrimental about this plant.

My mother had several of these particular plants in her last garden and there was no way it could be described as a noxious weed - they were just a normally behaved plant.
I've had one in my own gardens over the years and again, there was nothing out of the ordinary about them either.
I'll continue to buy them.

11 Jul, 2010


I think that this all depends on plants and locations. Some plants can be obnoxious weeds in one place but be very difficult to grow in another. I can quite
accept that Debbie has problems with this particular plant in her part of Oregon.

11 Jul, 2010


Like Marguerite has an invasion of Agapanthus - she refers to them as an invasive weed.
I think it's a bit wrong to get so worked up though and post her comments 'here' where we're 'predominantly' British.

11 Jul, 2010


We in the UK certainly have no problem with this plant - I have it in my garden, as well. However, there are indeed garden escapes that are turning into real problems here in the UK. How about Himalayan Balsam for one - that's choking our water ways - and I have found it on my stream bank this year for the first time. Then there's Rhododendron ponticum, isn't there...not a problem where I live, but definitely one in forested areas.

It's an interesting point, Debbie, and I respect your right to make it, but I suspect that every area/country has a similar problem with different plants causing a nuisance.

11 Jul, 2010


ok, i goofed up...i made it sound like no one should plant the pea at wonder some of you thrashed me. what i meant to say was you should not plant it in western US, and anytime you plant any nonnative where you live, you should be certain that the nonnative won't make a problem for others where you live.

that's the may be a perfectly fine plant where each of you lives, but it is hell where i live. the point is to make sure you are not planting something that doesn't belong where you live. if you search on the string "oregon noxious weeds" you will find lathyrus latifolius on the b list .

a few of you, i noticed, live in europe. this plant is native where you live. maybe there it's just fine. here we have a perfect climate for not only comes back year after year, its roots spread under the ground, and its seeds disperse and invade our forests when it is vigorous enough to smother just about everything it encounters.

if you have it in your garden, and it doesn't cause problems in your area, i think that's wonderful---as long as your garden isn't in the western united states.

as for the lady that sounded a bit peevish "well i';m not convince i'll keep right on planting it" fine, go ahead...i really was not trying to criticize you. i'm just asking people to think about what you do and be responsible, and be especially careful and PLEASE RESEARCH NONNATIVE PLANTS THAT YOU WANT TO PUT IN YOUR GARDENS!!!

It is estimated, that more than 90% of non native species (palnts and animals) that creat.e terrible damage worldwide got where they are by folks like you and me that thought that it was a pretty plant, and so on and so on.

also, several posters mentioned different plants that likewise cause them problems, like the gentlemena with himalayan balsam..

no one should cultivate any non native plant unless then are sure it will not get away and be a problem WHERE THEY LIVE.

another example, poison hemlock, a european native, causes more fatel stock poisoning than any other plant in north america

i don't want to make rules for anyone, i just want to help us all be better gardneres. i bet you all gardener better than me...i'm not much a gardener....i did just want to share this one item since it has caused me very much pain and financial loss. i only have a tiny little place, i live on a pension, and i have little resource to fight invaders.

that you all for shring your thoughts and experiences. you have all been very cordial and welcoming to me here.

11 Jul, 2010


I rather think you should have chosen a vehicle/site local to you which perhaps would be more understanding of and receptive to your demands? And despite what you say I do think I am a 'responsible gardener!'.

11 Jul, 2010


Debbie, well said and you did not deserve to be shot at like that, we should all be grateful for your input and feel sorry for your troubles with this plant ,you are obviously having a dreadful time keeping this plant at bay, I find it unbelievable that our RHS have given it an award of merit!!! see this quote below :
''The Royal Horticultural Society have recognised its outstanding excellence with its prestigious Award of Garden Merit (AGM).'' and there you are having this problem, well keep on fighting and keep us informed too, its great you are here on GOY sharing with us.
Lets not be 'unkind' to one another on here with spiteful comments, it really is not necessary !

11 Jul, 2010


I cannot agree with your last comment, Drc, sorry. Japanese knotweed, Giant Hogweed, Rhododendron ponticum were all introduced by people who would have called themselves 'responsible gardeners'. Yet now these and others are a serious problem in this country. I think Debbies comments should be viewed in the broad frame and we need to forget the specific Lathyrus latifolia ( which Wiki does describe as being invasive) and think about anything that we introduce.

11 Jul, 2010


Dont forget the dreaded Himalayan balsam too choking our canals/waterways.

11 Jul, 2010


Bh I still think of my self as a responsible gardener and do not think I am linked in any way to the glory seekers who brought JKW etc to this country to make names and money for themselves!

11 Jul, 2010


JKW was brought over by one of the many Victorian plantsmen that were not viewed as 'glory seekers'. So many of our garden plants were brought from all areas of the world including America [wake robin being one]. To say they were irresponsible is great with 20:20 hindsight. And who was it who brought it over? How famous is/was he/she?
many plants once away from their natural pests are going to grow freely. But how many of us here spray insects because they do our plants damage, or kill slugs/snails? There is no correct response here that wont cause upset to one or other person. This comment will do I am sure, though not intended.
The RHS awards AGM for plants that are found to grow well and provide quality flowers. They test the plants over several growing seasons.

We all need to be sensible but more so in disposing of unwanted plants. An eldery gent chucks his stuff over the fence into the fields at the back of the house. Now that is ir-responsible.

11 Jul, 2010


Maybe the trick is to accept that mistakes have been made over the years mostly by well intentioned 'plants people' and to keep reminding ourselves that we all in a small way can prevent such thing happening again. Garden centres are still selling plants that can be very invasive with little or no warning on the label. Many of us also grow Rhodos too.

11 Jul, 2010


to drc726---First, i didn't realize this was a UK site. Nothing identifies it as such.

But second, i was pointing fingers at no one!!! I was trying to encourage everyone to think....this includes myself, of is individuals that think of themselves as "not linked to [these kinds of problems] in any way" that propogate these nightmaresw (literally).
How many us us have ever at one time or another thought "such a beautiful plant....i'd like that in my garden" And did you ask yourself whether it was native? Did you ask yourself if it could cause a problem in your land? If you did not, then you are paret of the problem.
I have never never propogated any nightmares, but it is only by the Grace of God, because i have planted nonnative items in my garden without stopping to think. I'm lucky i don't have it on my conscious...
Look at your country....look at jkw....we have it here too, but we caught it early.
Don't be defensive. i'm not picking on anyone, and i'm not better than you. i am you. this is all of us, so i am trying to share what i learned to help others and help our earth.....and this point i won't budge on....if , after reading this , you still think you can rely on the powers that be, whoever they are, to tell you any give plant is safe to propogate, you are irresponsible, you are part of the problem. in my (american) fight about everlasting pea, i have found literally dozens of nurseries very happy to sell it to me, and i'm sure many people are buying it and planting it. Who is selling what to you? UK is a lovely place. For most of my life i have imagined visiting the moors and the northern islands where there knit lace, but due to modest means i have not.

12 Jul, 2010


We gardeners all share the same desire to look after our planet, that gets smaller as time goes on. It's so easy nowadays to export problems. You're right about jkw and there are others too that are just as bad and just as irresponsible on the part of those who introduced them, but it's easy to say that in hindsight.
I just hope that sometime in the future we don't have to say, I wish we had stopped 'Monsanto' introducing GM crops. I would like everyone on this forum to express their opinion on it.

13 Jul, 2010


Perhaps the plants sold here are cultivated varieties/hybrids, which keeps them smaller and more controllable. Debbie may be referring to the original, wild plant?

We all know what's happened with the originally-introduced Rosebay Willowherb, Japanes Knotweed/bindweed, Himalayan balsam, and so on. just the other day, Delonix1, from San Diego, commented on the yellow Oxalis I grew from seed this year, saying that he was surprised to see this as, In his part of the USA, Oxalis is native, a real pest, and difficult to eradicate, too.

13 Jul, 2010


Same thing with my Datura David - the US climate is conducive to it becoming a weed (after all this plant is highly poisonous).
But that's the thing - a lot of what we consider staples of our gardens are poisonous (take Foxgloves as a good example) which can self seed profusely.
But the weed issue is about context; potatoes are not native to the UK, and if someone hadn't thought to dig them up and boil the tubers, then it would surely be just another toxic weed! In Debbies context as a smallholder, there are a lot of weeds. In my context, the self seeded poppies that I don't like are weeds. The Perriwinkle for sale in large garden centres is a weed.
Debbie does make a serious point ( I don't think it was meant as a specific attack on the Sweet Pea), that'll hurt no one, but maybe in a few cases enlighten the beginners (and we all had to start somewhere).

17 Jul, 2010


OK, perhaps i don't belong here as i am feeling ill-used by a few.

First, I am NOT "on a mission to inform....[anyone]" . I was hoping to open a *dialogue*, which involves expressing one's own thoughts and actually listening to the snwers one received.
Second, while i stumbled into this UK site accidentally, I did not imagine that as a resident of the USA i would be unwelcome.
Third, I am not interested in "proving" what i say---take what you like, ignore the rest. Rereading my initial post, I see that i implored gardeners not to plant it, and that was my error...because i thought i was addressing an American audience, so i apologize for that.
I have much to learn as a gardener...and i also know one or two things , such as, once a person gets to the point that they feel above correction, i can guarantee that they will learn little else. For myself personally, i hope eating crow is something i never forget how to do.

18 Jul, 2010


to Meanie---
Interesting about the Datura. It is a wild plant of the American southwest, but i have seen many spectacular cultivars of it. Here we call them "Angels Trumpets".
Of course, the very idea of poison is as relative as in the case of Foxglove which also gives us lifesaving digitalis.
I see you also call periwinkle a weed. which (PLEASE CORRECT ME) is another name for vinca i think. But the vinca serves a good purpose (for me anyway) : it is a firebreak, and doesnt invade here due to our dry soils.
I am off now to find the real name of the photo that i incorrectly identified as "wild currant" BTW at a weed class week i learned that invasive species are the second greatest threat to biodiversity worldwide, only slightly behind human development, and that each year weeds account for more than twice the amount of biodiversity lost than all the lesser causes lumped together. Even i din't know that....

18 Jul, 2010


Debbie - please don't feel 'ill-used'...I don't think that anyone meant their comments to be unkind. Yes, this is a site based in the UK, that's true, but we have members all over the world now. Stay around and get to know us all a bit better.

We've all read and listened to your message, and it's made us think. Isn't that what your purpose was when you joined us?

Different plants in different situations can become 'weeds' or 'thugs' or whatever word you want to call them. We can all accept that and agree.

That Himalayan Balsam that appeared on my stream bank is causing me problems - but as I do consider myself a 'responsible gardener' I'm pulling it out whenever I spot a plant - I don't want any more plants to appear further along the stream outside my garden because of me!

Yes - Periwinkle is Vinca...and can become invasive in some places, but it's obviously of great value to you.

18 Jul, 2010


I agree with Spritz, stay and get to know us a little better. Please dont feel ill used Debbie. Like you we are passionate about our gardens/allotments and when members post pictures for identification you usually get 'its a weed pull it out' followed by 'it behaves for me keep it in' scenarios.

Humans have made so many mistakes over the centuries and we are only now realising the consequences. I found your article very interesting and thought provoking in a good way. I do wonder at all the introduced species and I did a spell at the Millenium Seed bank conserving seeds from plants around the world. The threats due to monoculture is rather scary. Thankfully this is strating to revert to greater diversity etc.

I have trouble getting periwinkle to take but the chap over the road cant get rid.

18 Jul, 2010


it was morning and i was feeling peevish when i posted that "feeling ill used". you all are so very Brittish--such a nice change from us americans, who tend to be too really. i posted earlier, a link to a site about our local plants, but i don't know where it went. in our rural areas we have only a very slow type of internet access that causes uploads to fail--wondering if you there have such things.
hip hip hooray for seaburngirl for working at the millenium seabank---its such an important job!
i look forward to more of your lovely photos...sure r some great photographers in here!!! i have a phot o a native wild honeysuckle that was id's for me by a native plant guru. i'm gonna go try upload it. tell me what you think....i would not have guessed it to be a honeysuckle varient in a thousand years!

19 Jul, 2010


My post was meant to be supportive. Being interested in garden history, was thinking back to the days of the plant collectors, and how many original plants, introduced, have got out of control, and have invaded our gardens and countryside. I am a huge fan of David Douglas, who explored the US and Canadian West Coast, Pacific Northwest, in particular, and introduced oiver 240 new plants, hitherto unknown, to Britain and Europe.One of them, Limnanthes douglasii (commonly known as "Poached Egg plant") is, in its own way a "thug" as Spritzhenry would say (?), as it spreads so wildly.

I still smile when I see Delonix!s comment re my purposeful growing of yellow Oxalis! :-))))))

19 Jul, 2010

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