• Invasive plants and impatience in the garden

    by  • October 15, 2010 • Fall, Plant Profiles • 5 Comments

    Arrrgggghh! I did it to myself,…I planted Mexican Primrose in my front beds in my impatience for something to fill in while waiting for my evergreens and groundcovers to grow. Now, after four years, it has spread to the back garden and I have had it with the dried brown stems in the off season and the general invasion into every corner of the front garden!

    Last Spring, I decided to dig it out of one side of the bed, actually sifting the soil in hopes of saving the existing desirable plants, Sages Iris, snow in summer and the groundcover Teucrium, new to me and so wonderfully fine textured.

    Prostrate Germander, Teucrium chamaedrys

    Prostrate Germander, Teucrium chamaedrys

    Now you can see that the Mexican primrose has totally engulfed the evergreen juniper here.

    Mexican Primrose invading the garden

    Mexican Primrose invading the garden

    On the other side of the bed it is popping up, the long oval brighter green, all through the lemon thyme and the Shasta daisies.

    Unwelcome invader

    Unwelcome invader

    So, what to do, what to do?  The digging and sifting did not work and I can see many seedlings popping up from the soil.  They loved the five inch rain we had last week! It is drastic measures that are needed and today I dug out the good plants, potted them, and sprayed a systemic herbicide on the rest, feeling as ruthless as I ever have in the garden. Arrrrgh, I hate the idea of killing good plants, but they are no longer ‘good’ when infiltrated by primrose rootlings.

    Those two pony paks, installed when I was impatient for quick results, will cause me to regularly watch for more little baby primrose plants in every season, and will continue to teach me a lesson about the patience of Nature.   All in good time.


    Sue Langley, a passionate gardener and photographer lives and gardens with her husband and Corgi, Maggie on 7 acres just south of Yosemite, Zone 7 at 3000 feet. She also manages the Flea Market Gardening Facebook page and website.

    5 Responses to Invasive plants and impatience in the garden

    1. October 15, 2010 at 7:49 pm

      Ack, I so hate losing good plants in the process of killing bad ones! I lost a catmint and a sedge a little over a year ago while digging out Bermuda grass that was completely intertwined with their roots. I’ve lost tons of other plants in other ways since then, but those ones that I killed during the weeding process are some of the hardest to get over.

    2. October 15, 2010 at 8:19 pm

      Isn’t it awful? I felt very bad about it, and I’m hoping it works….I’ll update this experiment!
      You’re right, I have killed a LOT of plants….don’t anyone keep records!

    3. March 21, 2011 at 1:08 am

      In doing a ‘clear-out’ we give ourselves a second chance, to plant other more desirable plants, to create a change of scene and, as they say, change is good for the soul, so don’t feel too guilty. Look on the bright side! 😉

      • March 21, 2011 at 8:06 pm

        That is so true. I will really bide my time and wait to see if the primrose is all gone before replanting. The plants I removed are holding on in gallon pots.

    4. Cheryl
      July 7, 2015 at 5:52 pm

      why not dig & plant elsewhere? Seems like you’ve got plenty of land?? (I’m trying to figure out what to do with a sloping meadow in Northern Sierra Foothills – Near Sonora. Problems with burrs & star thistle…. Beautiful Blue Oaks, some living oaks….

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