May 30, 2009

No More Invasive Shrubs

It happened so easily. Perhaps you can relate to how invasive shrubs end up in your gardens. Here in my area, the landscapers use variegated privet a lot. When we built our house in 2005, I was so overwhelmed with the building process that I didn't select the shrubs and trees.

For another year, I didn't pay attention to what had been planted. One day, I found out that we had the variegated privet that is on the invasive list - meaning that if it gets loose in the wild (which it will do), it can crowd out native species. We decided to keep the shrubs trimmed so that they wouldn't flower and set seeds.

Recently, Grumpy Gardener wrote about Five Awful Plants for the Front of Your House. There was the reminder again about invasive variegated privet. I showed the story to my husband. We knew that we really needed to go ahead and pull all of the privet from our gardens. My husband set about doing that immediately. The task was easier than he thought.

By pulling the invasive shrubs along the east foundation of our house, we had room for a garden bench by the waterfall. We widened the stepping stone pathway between the waterfall patio and the lower dining patio in the fragrance garden. I planted two urns and put on each end of the bench. We now have another nice place to sit by the waterfall.

In the garden bed along the east side of the house, we added a variety of salvia greggii, agastache, lavender and gaillardia. Since the fragrance garden already has an abundance of fragrant blooms, I focused on adding fragrant, touchable foliage plants and used the gaillardia for the shape of the blooms and long bloom time. The butterfly ginger remains in the original location.

I never realized how much sun this space received during the day until I focused on what to plant there. I took a few days to make sure of the conditions. In the summer, it has sunshine from sunrise until 2:00 pm in the afternoon. Right now, the planting is sparse as I bought small pots to save on cost. In another year, the perennials will fill in the space and it we'll have fragrant foliage along with the fragrant flowering shrubs and trees in our fragrance garden. We've had a lot of rain this week and the plants have already started growing!

After pulling the rest of the privet out of the garden beds in front, we planted more sun-loving perennials like salvia and sowed annual seeds to keep the cost down.

The project wasn't as expensive as we had thought if we don't think about the original cost of the fifteen privet located all around our property. We probably spent around $150 (we got a metal bench on sale locally for $50) to clear our conscious and create nice new garden areas.

It feels good to do the right thing.

Story and photos by Freda Cameron; Location: home garden; May 2009
Freelance travel writer. My current fiction writing projects include a completed manuscript and several works in progress.

By the way, my name is pronounced fred-ah, not freed-ah. Thank you.

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