Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Trying to have less of lesser celandine

What a weird name for a plant! And one that, if you can suspend your animus, is so pretty. Unfortunately, this one's pretty awful. It's blooming now, and many folks think it's a desirable addition to their garden. It's sold online as such, along with many other nasties. (I'm still dealing with a passionflower Goliath and five leaf akebia, both of which were sold to me by a garden center years ago.)

Trying to have less of lesser celandine

What a weird name for a plant! And one that, if you can suspend your animus, is so pretty. Unfortunately, this one's pretty awful. It's blooming now, and many folks think it's a desirable addition to their garden. It's sold online as such, along with many other nasties. (I'm still dealing with a passionflower Goliath and five leaf akebia, both of which were sold to me by a garden center years ago.)

If you've seen lesser celandine blanketing a forest floor, you'd marvel at how cheery it is ... bright green leaves, snappy little yellow blossom-dots, great coverage, and welcome color in early spring.

Problem is, lesser celandine, also known as fig buttercup, spreads quickly and smothers all those beautiful native "spring ephemerals" that are trying to come up for air - blood root, trillium, Virginia bluebells, wild ginger. Smother is the operative word. This stuff is like a toupee tightly woven across an expanse. (Not that I'm terribly familiar with toupees.)

While cleaning up my garden on Sunday morning I came across a patch of it about the size of a seat cushion. First time. Who invited you in? I tore it out and tossed it in the trash. It appeared to come out cleanly, but you never know.

As if I don't have enough problems with uninvited guests au jardin!

Inquirer Staff Writer
About this blog
Ginny Smith, a Philadelphia native, joined the Inquirer at 1985. After stints as both reporter and editor in the city and suburbs, she’s been happily writing – and learning - about gardening full time since 2006. She’s won two silver medals of achievement from the national Garden Writers Association and in 2011, Bartram’s Garden honored her with its Green Exemplar award for her stories about “the region’s deeply rooted horticultural history, cultural attractions and bountiful gardens.” She plays in her own – mostly - bountiful garden in East Falls. Reach Virginia A. at vsmith@phillynews.com .

Virginia A. Smith Inquirer Staff Writer
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