Friday, October 11, 2013

Mischief Managed

I should have known when she handed me the bag and laughed that I was in for a surprise. "These are easy to grow", she offered. "I have them everywhere," she warned. I did not take the hint, too enthralled with my sack of green to listen carefully. Pretty flowers that would grow in dry shade. My heart pounded and my stomach clenched. I was in love.

Anemone canadensis grows effortlessly in dry shade near the southeastern native, Bowman's Root (Gillenia trifolata).

I dug a hole, stuck them in, and they grew. They thrived. They bloomed. They took over and I am no longer in love. As a matter of fact, they drive me crazy. They devour other plants like horticultural hippos, suffocating them with their insistent growth then blooming like fools to advertise their slaughter. I rip them out by handfuls but the stems merely break off at the surface as their roots remain securely fastened to the soil.

 Euphorbia, epimediums, bigroot geraniums, Solomon Seal, brunnera, and a fern have all battled these beautiful beasts and only a few emerged as victors. "Out!" I shout as my shovel sinks deep into the dry earth, but the anemone roots are indistinguishable from all the other roots and the war is over before it's begun.


The anemones' motto

I stand, arms folded, and stare at the garden. Fresh compost fills the newly extended bed, plants clumped neatly in the rich black loam, not an anemone in sight. I wonder where they will pop up first, their white cupped flowers beautiful in the dappled shade. Maybe I still love them a little.

85 comments:

  1. Some 60 years ago I learned a similarly harsh lesson from Alstromeria.

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    1. Oohh! Such a beautiful flower! I had no idea they could be invasive. They're considered tropical annuals here.

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  2. Oh yes, you've got it bad sister. Looking forward to their return even after they've mistreated you so. Maybe it's time for a little therapy. Remember, there's no excuse for epimedium abuse!

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    1. I dug out as many as I could. I just have to make peace with them since they're never going away. After their spring bloom, I spend half the summer ripping out their foliage. I'm hoping some of them will just die of frustration.

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  3. Huh. Now I thought that Anemone canadensis needed a lot of moisture. I guess not. Well, you have added to the substantial body of evidence that this plant is a pain in the butt. That's sort of an accomplishment. I hear there is a cultivar called 'The Golden Horde'.

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    1. They are one of the toughest plants in my garden. I couldn't find anything online about a cultivar called the Golden Horde, but if anyone ever creates a chartreuse hybrid, that might be an apt description.

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  4. They are beautiful though... ;-) The equivalent in my garden is the Physalis alkekengi - Chinese Lanterns. My neighbour gave me a handful years ago and now they are threatening to engulf the whole rockery with their long thick root system. I have since learned always to look up these plants offered to me in the future!

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    1. I am much more cautious than I used to be! Long, thick roots are so hard to get rid of. Can you dig any of them out?

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  5. I like those anemones. I have them as well and they like to grow somewhere they aren't supposed to, but I don't care. They are beautiful flowers. Happy weekend, Tammy!

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    1. I don't mind if they spread a little bit. But they suffocate other plants so I have to try and keep them in balance.

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  6. That is the problem with anenomes, they seduce you with the beautiful flowers, but woe betide you if you don't want LOTS of them. I planted one that is supposed not to spread as badly in my previous garden, and now fil is battling it as it makes a takeover bid...

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    1. I am a sucker for anemones, for sure. I have more of a different type to plant this week that are much more well behaved. If they take over, they're getting the shovel!

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  7. It's the same with the pink japanese ones in my garden. They have taken over a whole bed and would take over the grass if it wasn't kept mown! xx

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    1. My Japanese anemones are in a bed that tends to be a bit dry and that helps control them. But I have other plants that try to sneak into the lawn when no one's looking.

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  8. Didn't realize they were so bad for taking over. I think they are pretty plants but I am now glad I did not ever plant any and have to deal with digging them all out also.
    Cher Sunray Gardens

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    1. They are so pretty that despite my efforts to reduce their numbers, I don't mind sharing my garden with them. :o)

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  9. What a shame the anenomes took over - and that you lost other flowers to them as well. Some flowers really do repay love with hard work!

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    1. Most of the plants they tried to suffocate managed to come back after I pulled away as much anemone foliage as possible so that they could get some light and space. The bigroot geraniums took the biggest hit.

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  10. I have Melasphaerula, tiny fairy bells. They are indigenous, and what is surplus to requirements I pull out in bunches. Too delicate to do damage to others, it does claim an understated presence thru my garden.

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    1. The anemones suffocate other plants, despite their delicate appearance. But they're native to my area so I'll have them forever.

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  11. Horticultural hippos! My coffee went spewing when I laughed over that one. It's funny how conditions make or break the plant. In full sun up here in the north, my anemone (Robustissima) is a big clump, but not spreading. Also, it's in a spot between the wall of the patio and the lawn, so that may control it-- it can't go past the wall and anything that spreads into the lawn gets mowed. That may be the secret. I feel for you trying to control your "up to no god" anemones.

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    1. . . . I meant "up to no good" (not up to no god, that connotes something strange)

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    2. I'm glad I could make you laugh! :o) I'm getting ready to release a beast into my garden by containing it the same way. I'm moving my loosestrife into a spot between a basement window well, the patio, and the giant Rose of Sharon's. It will have very little space to takeover and I can use its pot space for something else. It's in for a huge surprise when it realizes it's boxed in by a massive shrub and a patio.

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  12. Here Anemone canadensis grows wild in ditches so at least you are warned that they can take over. If you have an opportunity, try A. nemorosa, the flower looks the same as A. canadensis, but the plant is a bit shorter and is much better behaved. I got mine from a friend who has had them for over 20 years and they just make a nice clump in her garden.

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    1. A. nemorosa are beautiful but they're summer dormant here. I also have a.sylvastris as well as 'Honorine Jobert' Japanese anemones. I'm adding 'Max Vogel' as well as 'Serenade' this week. The area they're planted in is dry enough to keep them from taking over. I just love the flowers!

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  13. Your photo looks like a delicate mix of Columbine with white anemone--beautiful. I just put in seven two gallon plants of Anemone canadensis in my shade garden because the only other thing that was really taking off there were all the variegated hostas in deep green and light green. Oh, and a few Brunnera. I was hoping the anemone would add more color to that bed since it is always wet being on the north side of the house and in Portland, OR (which is often wet anyway.) Now, you've got me wondering--did I goof? Maybe the hostas, which are huge and well established, will keep the others in line. I'll keep you posted.

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    1. Oy vey! Keep an eye on them! I'm not sure if the extra water will serve as jet fuel to their future take over or hold them back, since they can take drier conditions. It didn't help that mine were in a bed that was too small so they had no where else to go but to a spot already occupied by another plant. I just doubled the size of the bed they're in so I'm not sure if I slowed them down by damaging some of their roots or if I just gave them more room to run. We'll see!

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  14. I have seen the Canadian anemone along semi wild areas in Calgary while visiting my sister. They looked pretty rambunctious to me. Being a cautious person I never planted any.

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  15. Oh they're not done with you yet! I can't help but admire how these beautiful thugs seduce our senses, make us long for them with a plant lust that drives us into a search-and-buy frenzy, and then their rapacious roots pillage our beds, picking off less-appreciated but loyal ferns and Brunneras. The Horror!
    Japanese Blood Grass has of late been my particular bane. I'm still trying to keep some of it and rip out the encroachers.

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    1. I've heard that stuff is hard to get rid of. I actually admire the anemones' gusto, which is why my attempts to get rid of them were fairly half-hearted. Tough and beautiful is a combo you have to respect, even if it doesn't always play by my rules.

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  16. I have something similar in my garden and tried to pull them up twice. Then I found that the bees love the late flowering blooms so now we are stuck with each other.

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  17. Oh my. My closest equivalent is Oenothera speciosa (Pink Evening Primrose). I can't say I wasn't warned but rampant growth actually seemed what my largely empty new garden needed at that point. And the flowers were so pretty. Just goes to show, as my mother always used to tell me, "pretty is as pretty does."

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    1. Oh, I hate that stuff! I once took every plant out of a bed and sat in the dirt and sifted through it section by section as I hunted for those stupid orange roots. It had completely taken over and look wretched after it bloomed. I didn't replant until I was sure the soil was free of any remaining roots.

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  18. Oh dear, what a battle you are waging in the garden.

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  19. I learned long ago that when a gardener hands you something, be very wary. ;) It's hard to believe something so pretty can be such a bully. I have a violet that's becoming a thug like that... Good luck to both of us!

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    1. I have violets, too but have pulled enough of them to keep them in check. I have a lot more sympathy for the violets because they don't suffocate other plants. They just get in the way.

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  20. I have the Anemone canadensis in my garden too, but I am glad it is not so invasive until now. You see you have to be careful with plants other gardeners give you so generously, haha.

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    1. I should have been more suspicious! Actually, I was warned but I didn't take it seriously. Lesson learned. :o)

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  21. The plant that takes over is a thug in the garden! I've a few as well.

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  22. Oh my. They're so pretty. I have very little shade areas so shade loving spreaders like that don't scare me. Now the mint....

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    1. I learned a long time ago never to let mint loose in the garden. I have some sneaking out of a pot right this minute!

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  23. According to Greek mythology, anemones were the tears Venus wept when Mars got jealous and sent a wild boar to kill her lover, Adonis. This makes me think maybe a wild boar is the answer. Great tusks rooting up the plant might be a satisfying sight.

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    1. What an awesome comment! I'll keep my anemones! If a wild boar shows up in my garden, my only hope is to beat it to death with my frying pan and plan on bacon for dinner. :o)

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  24. A rogue plant indeed, but you still love it in your garden. Maybe an extra big pot to control them?

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    1. Just digging them out of the ground is almost impossible because the stems break easily of the roots, which are hard to find. They're very thin and threadlike. I just have to learn to live with them.

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  25. Gardening rule number 1... if someone gives you a plant from their garden, it is bound to be a prolific spreader and a potential thug. Rule number 2.... there is no logic in love... Rule number 3.... if you read a phrase like "horticultural hippos" you will laugh loudly and risk being caught reading blogs instead of working.... ahem.

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    1. :o) So true! We never give away the plants we struggled to grow. As much as these anemones irritate me, I love their tenacity and ability to look beautiful in bone dry shade. I'll take them over a demanding diva plant any day!

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  26. Haha... I have a plant that is exactly like this one. Flourish and flower well. Hated it when it became invasive LOL...

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    1. It's an opportunistic little thug, that's for sure!

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  27. I love Harry P so of course I was intrigued by the name of the post. I have a few plants like this as well....errrrrrrrr

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    1. I love Harry Potter! I'd been trying to figure out a way to work this phrase into a post. :o)

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  28. Sometimes when I'm in the garden I consider the war between design and what wants to grow there, and wonder if it's worth fighting about. lol At least anemones are a lovely hippo.

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    1. I'm starting to adopt the design approach of "So, is that where you want to grow? Fine!" Maybe I just need to let my garden design itself. :o)

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  29. OK, seriously they grow in dry shade, would they grow under a fir tree? If they do, I am in heaven, they can take over any space under those moisture sucking, fir needle shedding, pitch dripping babies any day.

    Jen

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    1. I think they'd grow under a fir tree but I've never grown them there so I can't say for sure. Mine grow in between a thirsty river birch and a crape myrtle. I'd give it a try. :o)

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  30. Tammy, there are many aggressive plants, not only anemones. They don't grow here, are not hardy. But I have the same problem with Vinca minor, its roots are everywhere, cant throw it off the bed.

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    1. Vinca is very invasive here, too. I let it grow in pots but never in the ground or I'll never get rid of it.

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  31. Ha! Interesting post, and comment - let the garden design itself? A bit, maybe. I've given up on ever saying goodbye to acanthus mollis.

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    1. I'm actually using the placement of seedling plants that are thriving to guide parts of my redesign. I've decided that if they've planted themselves there and are happy, it might be foolish to move them from that area. I hope it works!

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  32. You captured a common feeling that every gardener has felt at one time or another. I've often had mixed feelings about various plants. I guess my biggest problem here is Purple Wintercreeper (Euonymus Coloratus fortunei). It's a non-native and somewhat invasive, but it's beautiful. And getting rid of it is going to be a BIG job. :(

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    1. Ugh! Does it have a massive root system? I think some plants should come with warning labels.

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  33. Interesting blog. I have never seen this plant before. Thank you for sharing. I invite you to visit my blog.
    Have a nice day.
    Endah
    Indonesia

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  34. Managed? Whos's managing whom?
    Ray

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    1. I've managed to learn to live with them because they're not going anywhere! But I think I've slowed them down.

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  35. OK, I'm going to be the one to ask the extremely ignorant question - this isn't the anemone that you see in spring in shades of white and beautiful deep blue, is it? And it's not the fall blooming variety like Honorine Jobert either? I've been contemplating both, so please do tell me if I need to reconsider.

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    1. This is a spring bloomer. Blue anemones are actually bulbs but these are a native perennial. I have Honorine Jobert and she's very well behaved in my garden because she doesn't have the moisture to spread. Japanese anemones would love all the moisture in your garden.

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  36. I feel guilty by association as this is a Canadian native plant we are talking about here. My Anemone canadensis has taken over as well. The only saving grace is the fact that by sheer luck I planted mine in a bed where it is somewhat isolated. I can see why you are torn in your feeling about this spring charmer. It's so darn pretty.

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    1. I think I managed to slow it down with all the digging/transplanting I did in that area. It drives me crazy but I think I'd miss it if I ever got rid of it for good. I wish more of my plants were as tough as those anemones!

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  37. Such lovely flowers without much fussing. I love these type of plants. Please don't battle so hard with it.

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    1. The battle was more of a scuffle. I'll have tons of it again next year. :o)

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  38. Mine died. I don't know what I did but they thrived for a few years and then died. So whatever you're doing, stop. Do the opposite. They'll die. Eventually. Maybe.

    Maybe we should adopt a motto that says, "Friends don't let friends give them aggressive plants." Have a great weekend.

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    1. It must have been all your rain that did them in. They grow in an area that is really dry. It seems like aggressive plants are the ones that we're always giving away!

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  39. uh oh, I don't have canadensis but I do have anemone sylvestris and now I'm wondering what I'm in for. They have started to spread this year and they're so pretty. famous last words I suppose ? :)

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    1. My a.sylvestris aren't as aggressive as the a.canadiensis. I tolerate chaos from both of them because I love the flowers so much. :o)

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  40. And I don’t have canadensis either but I have just planted a Japanese white anemone, my first, and told it to behave and grow in its designated spot or else….I planted it in total shade so I hope that will make it less prone to invade the rest of my garden. Some of the loveliest plants turn out to be real thugs, they should come with a warning!

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    1. I have 'Honorine Jobert' Japanese anemones that I have in a spot that's dry enough to keep them in check. Mine are really well behaved. They're a pretty tough plant.

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  41. I was tempted by their sweet blooms and especially when you said dry shade! But after your frustration with them swallowing other plants they are a no go...but they are pretty!!! Hope you are well...it sounds like you have been busy!!!

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  42. It's funny how we are so easily fooled by pretty plants and unknowledgeable sales people! It's good to be back reading your blog. Your writing is as witty as every. Remember me? :)

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    1. Of course I remember you! I find that most sales people are unknowledgeable. I really value the ones that actually know what they're talking about. They're so hard to find! So glad you still like the blog. Yay! :o)

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