Things you wish you’d never planted…
We all make mistakes.
My main one in gardening seems to be a cavalier disregard for the words “self-seeding”. As the owner of a very small patch I really ought to recoil instantly in horror and run the other way when I hear that term, but too often I seem to cultivate a selective deafness, hearing only things like “great cut flower!” “wonderful perfume!” “blooms for months!” and the like, and before I know it, I’m reaching for my purse intent on saddling myself with yet another plant I’ll never be rid of.
The bane of my existence in recent times has been a euphorbia. I don’t recall which one it is, so I can’t name it and shame it, but I know that I grew it because some tv gardener or other was waxing lyrical about it one day, and I fell for it, even though they said it would self-seed (probably in the list of advantages!).
So I bought a packet of seed, grew it, was briefly charmed by its properties as a cut flower, then got bored of it and decided to be rid, but no…not a hope! I must have carelessly missed a flower head when I was dead-heading and allowed some seed to set because it must be three or four years since I yanked the wretched things out, and I’m still pulling up seedlings by the handful, many of them nowhere near where the original plants were! It pops up in my gravel, in the borders, between paving stones, everywhere. I never allow it to grow, so where this never-ending supply of seedlings is coming from I haven’t a clue. I’m beginning to think the only way I’ll get shot of it is to move!
I’m also beginning to think I’ll never be rid of Cerinthe purpurascens, another plant I grew because the tv gardeners were all infatuated with it a while ago (tv gardeners, I might add, who probably have massive gardens that can more than accommodate a bit of self-seeding!). I wasn’t greatly impressed by the plant to be honest – rather weedy habit, didn’t flower for long enough – but I’ve been even less impressed by its manners, popping up here and there in my gravel long after it’s outstayed any welcome it had.
I’d like to think that I’ve learnt my lesson, but it’s probably only a matter of time before another silver-tongued horticulturist persuades me that x or y is THE plant to have, and that self-seeding is one of its many virtues…(!)