Things you wish you’d never planted…#2
Time for another whinge.
Some years ago I thought it would be nice to plant an evergreen or semi-evergreen clematis to help clothe a boring fence throughout the year, and so I chose Clematis cirrhosa balearica. It looked good on the label and it fitted the requirements, so in it went, and for a few seasons I was happy with its somewhat sparse but nonetheless attractive display of nodding cream bells in early Spring, and its airy tracery of foliage year round.
However, make no mistake about this, it’s a thug; a delicate, ferny-foliaged thug.
Year by year, that airy tracery became a solid mass of smothering stems to the point that it was threatening to overwhelm all its fence-mates in spite of my attempts to restrain it, so I made the tough decision to have it out, but that was when I made an unpleasant discovery: without my realising it, it had been stealthily layering itself all along the fence, insinuating itself into the rootballs of a climbing rose, a variegated euonymus and another clematis, and would now be well nigh impossible to remove without mangling the plants I wished to keep.
I considered attacking it with glyphosate, but it would be awkward to avoid the many plants that surround it, so I’m left with my only real option being a spade and/or fork and dogged persistence. Heigh ho! Still, Bob Flowerdew on GQT said just the other week that all undesired plants can eventually be defeated by constantly removing the top growth – I hope he’s right!
So I would add self-layerers to my list of “Plants I Should Leave At The Garden Centre”. They’re fine if you have a lot of space to fill, but I do not, and it’s a lesson I really ought to learn if I know what’s good for me!