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'Triffids' in the garden?

86 comments


Not the John Wyndham ones; I mean the plants in your garden that ‘walk’. I seem to have quite a lot – I’m sure you have some, too.

This pretty flower is on a shrub called Spiraea x bumaldii ‘Triumphans’ – or should I say ‘was’. It was all fine to start with, but the shrub started ‘walking’ across the bed, i.e. sent out suckers. Eventually, I made a decision – it had to go. It wasn’t only the suckers that made my mind up – the flowers fade to a nasty brown, and who wants a brown-flowered shrub in their garden?

I don’t have nearly as much trouble with Kerria japonica, but it can sucker, and my friend complains about hers.

This pretty flower is on a rather less common shrub, which also sends up suckers, but as it has plenty of room to ‘walk’ for the moment, I don’t mind. It’s Oemleria cerasifolia.

This is a photo I took shortly after we moved here – it’s a lesson in what Comfrey can do if it’s left to its own devices. I know it’s useful to make plant food, but oh dear – would anyone want that much in their garden? I filled the barrow twelve times, but I still find Comfrey plants appearing!

This pretty walker is Achillea ptarmica ‘The Pearl’. I’ve been battling it for years, but it still pops up. It has white stolons, and if a small piece is left in the ground, up it comes. I don’t think I’ll win with it.

This flower – oh yes, it’s very pretty, unless you don’t control it – because this is what it does.

Again, it had been allowed free rein, and it covered an area of about 4 square metres, and had grown into the beautiful Stipa gigantea. I’ve seen it for sale in Garden Centres, and it should come with a health warning! It’s Centaurea hypoleuca ‘John Coutts’ and you have been warned if you fancy growing it. I’m still battling with it, and like the Achillea, I can’t see me being the winner.

Iris confusa ’Martin Rix

Iris japonica ’Ledger’s Variety’

I love these pretty Irises, but they too have ‘Triffid’ tendencies. They’re much easier to control, luckily.

What else have I got that ‘walks’? Ah yes – two Campanulas – ‘Pink Octopus’ and ‘Silver Bells’. They’re not too difficult to control, though, and I love them both.

C. ’Pink Octopus

C. ‘Silver Bells’

Another rather thuggish Campanula is C. glomerata, and last year I bought C. clomerata ‘Caroline’. Sadly, she doesn’t seem to want to walk like her sibling. I wish she would!

I keep thinking of more and more ‘Triffid’ plants – like Saponaria, which I love.

And Lysimachia -

L. ciliata ‘Firecracker’

L. clethroides

L. punctata

And a Ligularia look-a-like that’s vying for space with the L. punctata on the stream bank. I really think it’s winning, too!

Sinacalia tangutica

Oh, there seem to be so many ‘Triffid’ plants in my garden. What ‘walks’ in yours?

Persicaria?

Vinca? Don’t even think about planting Vinca ‘Gertrude Jekyll’!

Japanese Anemones?

After all those, I think I must look at all the non-Triffid, well-behaved plants in my garden, and enjoy them, don’t you?

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Comments

 

Spritz - I wish campanula glomerata would stay in my garden, never mind walk. It's the favourite food of the local slug population just now.

29 Jul, 2014

 

That's funny you putting that centaurea last, as the only invasive plant I have here at the moment...other than weeds...is a centaurea. It pops up from the tiniest bit of root. It's very pretty, and flowers all summer, but it is an absolute thug. It comes up in the middle of other plants. It's no longer welcome in my patio border! I'll keep a close eye on my Gertrude Jekyll, and Lysimachia!

29 Jul, 2014

 

Oh, and I've started removing the C. Glomerata as well, it's another one, and oh, that dreadful eryngium....seedlings absolutely everywhere...but easy enough to dig out with my trusty spade. So actually, that's three already!

Oh, just thought of another beastly little plant...it's that yellow flowered oxalis. Someone must have planted it in the rockery, and every couple of weeks, a new carpet of seedlings in the golden border for me to hoe out!

I'm going now, before I think of any more triffids!

29 Jul, 2014

 

Recently tore L. firecracker out of my garden bed after almost smothering half of it. This is a great blog!

29 Jul, 2014

 

I battle with 'suckers' of Spiraea Douglasii and agree that the pink flowers turn a dull brown. I have sent cuttings of it to a couple of GoY members with a warning about the suckering habit!
Our son has recently moved and has a Lysimachia clethroides which he doesn't want. Much as I like it, GoYers have told me about its wandering ways so perhaps I'll pass on digging it up for my garden.

Barbara, we had a conversation about Japanese Anemones a couple of years ago and I decided to dig them all out, ha, they still appear to this day. A common Lilac send out suckers too ... forever snipping them off!

29 Jul, 2014

 

And have you ever tried getting rid of acanthus? The roots are even more persistent than dandelions.

29 Jul, 2014

 

Great Minds Spritz ! Yesterday I decided to cut down my Spiraea Billardi Triumphans like you because it is sending up clumps of suckers, also after 16 years its no longer flowering as it should. This afternoon I intend to get at the roots having given it a good soak last night.
My Helianthus Lemon Queen also spread at a fast rate but it is shallow rooted so quite easy to control.

29 Jul, 2014

 

Lovely blog and it will generate lots of fellow feeling on here! I give away clumps of lysimachia Firecracker each spring, and have moved all my comfrey to behind the shed on a neglected bank out of sight - it took at least three years before it stopped coming up again. And yes, the acanthus took at least that long but this year for the first time it hasn't appeared. I sent some with a government health warning to a goyer - would love to know whether he still loves it!

I have spent most of the afternoon digging out dog violets from a small border - and to think I used to get so excited that they were growing in the garden!
Japanese anemones - yes, the bog standard pink ones completely took over from Honorine Jobert and so they have gone elsewhere where I thought they'd do no harm - but they are taking over there as well.

And oh dear, those little pink geraniums that were supposed to hold back the wild part of the garden - well they do, but they take over the rest as well...You'd never believe i started off with just one.

Maybe there should be an entry in Goypedia for thugs??

29 Jul, 2014

 

I regret ever planting geranium nodosum. Innocent little purple flowers, thrives in dry shade, but seeds everywhere and if you let it get established, impossible to remove.

29 Jul, 2014

 

The Acanthus I have to admit is a pain, and those pink HGs which are impossible to get rid of, Vincas are fairly well behaved, I do cut them back though.....Brazen Hussy (Ranunculus) has started to spread rapidly, so I will be keeping an eye on her.......

29 Jul, 2014

 

I forgot about the dreaded pink geraniums - I should have added those to my 'Triffid' list, definitely, and yes, Acanthus walks as well.

Denise, as you are removing your Spiraea completely - be warned - you'll find that the roots spread out seemingly for ever...I'm quite concerned that the remaining pieces I couldn't remove might send up suckers!

Oh Dd - why, why, why did you plant Brazen Hussy? I hope you can handle her. My sister's garden is covered in Celandines now, and without serious weedkiller, she's stuck with them!

Yes, Stera, I do think Goypedia needs a 'thug' section. Anyone know how to add it, please?

30 Jul, 2014

 

Biggest pains here are Japanese Anenomes, a totally nondescript dwarf Bamboo, Day Lilies, Crocosmia and Lily of the Valley.
Campanula glomerata survive but refuses to walk. Acanthus mollis is easy enough to control in the spring, as are the Lilac suckers. Kerria japonica had to go though.

I've just got a Martin Rix - that can walk as much as it wants to!

There is one other form of thug - those that get far bigger than expected. Here I have Salvia glutinosa and Lobelia tupa - both have grown outwards from a small basal clump to a diameter of over two metres. This is the last summer for the Salvia (much as I love it) but the Lobelia is just far too good to be culled.

30 Jul, 2014

 

Having looked again at the main root. Spritz I have decided to let it be. Hopefully as its cut down to nothing now it will take awhile to get going again.
But the one I regret most of all was Houttuynia cordata it spread from the base of a pot and took 5 years of constant digging to get rid of it.

30 Jul, 2014

 

Yes, that can be a real thug, Denise - we had it in our last garden. It isn't nearly as bad here, for some reason.

I found another Spiraea sucker yesterday, and sadly, it has grown through my pretty Abelia grandiflora, which will have to come out with it. I shall definitely replace that!

I forgot about 'Crocosmia' - or ' Montbretia', as I call the 'wild' unnamed one. That is a definite thug and I'm always pulling some out to try to keep the clumps under control.

Meanie, I thought S. tupa was tender?

31 Jul, 2014

 

I thought that Lobelia tupa was borderline too Spritz but check this out......................

http://bit.ly/1xDieFn

The photo was taken a few weeks ago - I'll do a current one later.
I mulch it with conifer needles, but that is it.

31 Jul, 2014

 

I'm pleased for you - L. tupa is a spectacular plant. :-)

1 Aug, 2014

 

As far as the hardiness of L.tupa, I wonder if some people make the mistake of treating like the other perennial Lobelias and keep it moist, damp or wet when in growth. In its natural habitat it grows in fairly dry conditions and by treating it like that I suspect that I've ended up with a far stronger plant.
One other thought - I only cut the stems off after winter. They're hollow so by leaving them intact no winter wet runs into the heart of the plant.

1 Aug, 2014

 

You are right about the natural habitat Meanie. I saw it growing in the wild just above the high-water mark on a beach in Chile. The 'soil' was almost pure sand.

1 Aug, 2014

 

Pity it's all wrong for my wall border. I do like it!

2 Aug, 2014

 

Spritz I have had Brazen Hussy for years and never had a problem until this year.....

6 Aug, 2014

 

The Spiraea Douglasii has been cut back ... ready for OH to dig it out tomorrow ... I have had enough of the suckers it sends out!

6 Aug, 2014

 

I was having a purge on Brazen Hussey a couple of years ago. This year, I had a go at tackling Spanish (and hybrid) bluebells.

6 Aug, 2014

 

We did that a few years back, and most of them have gone now...

6 Aug, 2014

 

Shirley, I thought we'd got all the suckers out, but I spotted yet another one yesterday - it has walked at least two metres from the main plant!!

7 Aug, 2014

 

You've inspired me. this morning I got the barrow and the fork and began heaving out those pink geraniums...

7 Aug, 2014

 

It's out after much digging, heaving plant to and fro with a little bit of grumbling - ok - a lot of grumbling! A Penstemon was entwined in the roots of the Spiraea - but I also found some Spanish Bluebells to remove too. Job well done. :o)

7 Aug, 2014

 

Oh, well done, Shirley! Now we both have to hope that any remaining roots don't decide to send up suckers. :-(( It's amazing how far they spread.

8 Aug, 2014

 

I shall be keeping a wary eye!

8 Aug, 2014

 

I decided to have a go at the root yesterday and it was quite easy as there did not seem to be a tap root, although the suckers were quite deep and had travelled quite a way, hopefully its gone.

8 Aug, 2014

 

I'm afraid you might find more suckers, Denise - I honestly regret ever planting mine. :-( You're right about the root system!

9 Aug, 2014

 

I've been trying to remove some yellow loosestrife this morning. Once the roots get going ....

9 Aug, 2014

 

I find some lovely [bouncing Bet] but the Euphorbia that creeps every where is another triffid in my book. [computer let me post this time :p]

9 Aug, 2014

 

I've got a Euphorbia that was 'contained' by the paving each side, but it has started seeding itself into the cracks of the steps!!!

Tsk, tsk, Latin names, please, Sbg!! (LOL)

10 Aug, 2014

 

tsk tsk indeed the correct term this days is scientific, botanical or binomial identification. ;o)

10 Aug, 2014

 

Ooh-err. How am I supposed to remember all that? :-O

11 Aug, 2014

 

dont worry there is no need what with all the changes to the identification of plants and the reclassification of names I don't think we will fall out over it :o)

11 Aug, 2014

 

No, we don't usually, do we? x

12 Aug, 2014

 

Have a look at the blog about the path OH wanted to lay down by the privet. You'll see what I mean about the lysimachia casualty spritz.

I really enjoyed meeting up on Friday but I must try to get to see your garden at a different time of year next time.

12 Aug, 2014

 

Yes, June is a good time! Off to read blog. x

13 Aug, 2014

 

I have just spent the last five hours trying to remove self seeded Campanula Pritchards variety. Not a walker but a self seeder have now dug down about 2.5 ft and still have not reached the bottom of the roots!

13 Aug, 2014

 

Good gracious - I didn't know it seeded itself! It obviously likes your garden, Wendy!

14 Aug, 2014

 

By jove Spritz_h .... It looks like you are being attacked from all directions. Thank you for a very interesting blog with some beautiful photos, a warning to us all. If you have a small garden, then this is a warning to avoid some of these plants. I guess over the years we've all made mistakes. Mine was with Lily of the Valley. I suggested to my OH that it needed to be sunk in the ground in an old metal waste bin to prevent it spreading ... but heh ho! Now we have triffids too.....lol

24 Aug, 2014

 

Ooops! I think in some ways you were lucky, Alan, because I know a lot of gardeners who struggle to get Lily of the Valley established. At least your triffid is a beauty and you can cut them for indoors. :-))

25 Aug, 2014

 

<]:~))

25 Aug, 2014

 

lol.

26 Aug, 2014

 

Oh Spritzhenry,
You have opened a can of worms! You could be the founding member of The Rogues Gallery.
My 2 worst offenders - Japanese Anemones and Brazen Hussey.

26 Aug, 2014

 

I agree about Jap. Anemones - I inherited a whole bed of them, and they were out of control to the extent that I had to use weedkiller on a clump that came up under an obelisk! Strangely, I tried getting Brazen Hussey to grow outside the garden on a little bank, but it refused. :-(

27 Aug, 2014

 

Its the little b..... (bulbils?) that drop off when you are trying to weed them. I had Convolulus, another b..... bindweed come thro' from next doors unkempt patch into my established border, put a poly bag carefully around the rootarea, untangled the shoot and lay itin the bag. 3 x Glyphosate and they were gone, used this method on a stubborn piece of Acanthus with success.

27 Aug, 2014

 

lamium 'Herman's Gold' is a contender as is Golden rod [solidago]

27 Aug, 2014

 

And gladiolus papilio. NEVER plant it in any half decent soil.

27 Aug, 2014

 

That piece you sent me didn't survive, Andrew - and that was NOT a hint! Strange how some plants go mad in one garden and not in others.

28 Aug, 2014

 

Spritz - I couldn't send you another piece as I finally managed to eliminate it after two years.

28 Aug, 2014

 

Gladiolus byzantinus, but at least it flowers well,unlike papilio which I now keep in a pot.

28 Aug, 2014

 

You're right, Siris, but I love my G. byzantinus so I didn't count them as triffids. It's very odd - they thrive in my garden, but a friend just along the lane can't get them established!

29 Aug, 2014

 

My first clump of G. byzantinus fizzled out after a few years, and I had to get some more.

29 Aug, 2014

 

Did they survive, Andrew?

30 Aug, 2014

 

Yes they did, although it's early days yet.

Can I nominate another thug - euphorbia cyparissias. I'm trying to dig out some that has come up under a path and continued across another section of garden.

30 Aug, 2014

 

Ha! I've got that, and it started off being contained by paving in front and beside it, but recently I've found seedlings in the cobbled steps, so it is trying its best to be a Triffid! (I was aware that it walked...)

31 Aug, 2014

 

I don't have anything tyo contribute but I need to leave a comment so that I can follow this very interesting blog!

3 Sep, 2014

 

Well, Fran, at least you now know what NOT to plant in your garden!

4 Sep, 2014

 

lol true, Spritz - now I need someone to go round and make sure that I didn't inherit any of it when I moved in here!

4 Sep, 2014

 

If you did you'll find it soon enough - And after all most of them are pretty in moderation!

4 Sep, 2014

 

That's true, Stera. I like most of my Triffids, until they start being a nuisance.

5 Sep, 2014

 

aye, there's the rub - "in moderaqtion" One of my thoughts before I got a garden was maybe to make trouchs or tubs in the ground, to contain plants that might otherwise invade, or that would need different soil requirements. Now that I've got one, not sure about it

5 Sep, 2014

 

I wouldn't bother Fran. There aren't that many that are in that category - mint and bamboo probably being two of the worst. You can see by this blog that a thug in one garden might even die in another.
You won't need special soil unless you want something that doesn't like yours - you do need to find out the pH of your soil if you want eg rhododendrons or summer flowering heathers. Basically apart from that, plant what you like and see whether it likes you. Most of us learn by trial and error!

5 Sep, 2014

 

We sure do - and me being me, I push the boundaries! I like rare or unusual plants. :-)))

6 Sep, 2014

 

my gardener found a mint plant, he potted it and buried the pot, to contain it. about time i started using some of it! I did like the sound of bamboo, till I read how hard it was to get rid of later.

6 Sep, 2014

 

That depends on which you buy, Fran. Some are rampant Triffids, while others behave themselves. ;-)

7 Sep, 2014

 

I've read of dwarf bamboo, thought of trying that, or at least checking that out first of all; not sure how any bamboo might take to being contained in a tub, even a large one.

8 Sep, 2014

 

Any rampant plant, growing in a pot, will need repotting from time to time. This includes mint which I find needs doing about every three years. Remove the plant from the pot, split it up, and repot about one third of the old plant in the original pot in fresh compost.

8 Sep, 2014

 

I was looking at them on the net a few days ago. There are some that are often grown in pots. Bamboo knows a lot about them, try PMing her for some advice. (Don't care for 'em myself...)

8 Sep, 2014

 

I do - I have Phyllostachys aurea and P. nigra and they wave about in the breeze and look wonderful all year round. I do admit that they try to walk, but I forbid them to, so they submit, lol. I certainly wouldn't try growing them in pots, though. The pots wouldn't survive!

9 Sep, 2014

 

We had a "small" bamboo in teh communal garden whree I used to be a volunteer - it didn't stay very small for long. Part of the appeal was so that we could grow our own garden canes! but the gentle rattleing did sound good in the breeze.

I only have one long single sprig of mint at the moment, so it might be a while before it fills out enough to need reportting.

10 Sep, 2014

 

Well, that won't make much mint sauce, will it? lol.

11 Sep, 2014

 

At least the sheep won't be worried then!

11 Sep, 2014

 

If you want some more let me know - I'm about to give heaps of it the old Heave Ho.

11 Sep, 2014

 

Our predecessors planted mint in a brick circle in the gravel outside the kitchen door - how sensible was that?

12 Sep, 2014

 

I've never been able to grow mint on purpose, no idea why - my mum had one that had gone rampant, and i took cuttings off htat, nothing. sigh.

16 Sep, 2014

 

You need to take root cuttings not stem ones. (In fact not even cuttings, just dig up a bit of root and away you go.)

16 Sep, 2014

 

the garderner dug up the whole plant, roots and all, and potted it. since then I've not cooked potatoes to use it on - well, once, but hten it was 9pm and i didn't fancy going out in the dark with a torch and a pair of sicssors!!

17 Sep, 2014

 

Don't blame you!

17 Sep, 2014

 

Another one for the list - teucrium scorodonia 'Crispum Marginatum.' I planted a small piece over ten years ago; yesterday it took almost two hours to get the whole plant out. It runs slowly but persistently, and puts down surprisingly deep roots for such a small plant. Still have to work on getting out potentilla cuneta.

21 Oct, 2014

 

thanks for the warning, I'll make a note on my "NO" list.

21 Oct, 2014

 

Dd sent me a piece some years ago, Andrew, and mine has spread a little, but not enough for me to call it a 'Triffid'. It obviously likes your garden. ;-(

23 Oct, 2014

 

It's not a plant of great presence - more an interesting in-filler.

23 Oct, 2014

 

Yes, good word. :-)

24 Oct, 2014

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