I have just dodged a garden bullet. Earlier this week, I wandered into a nursery having a big plant sale. I was specifically looking for a plant with variegated foliage to brighten up one of my backyard beds. This has been a difficult bed to make attractive. It has too many shrubs in it, the light is a mixed–deep shade in the morning, then full sun in the afternoon, then more shade. It has also been the scene of many battles between me and a particularly wily gopher. Too many smoke bombs have been set off beneath this bed’s soil, and it shows. A small digression: In battling gophers, forget about smoke bombs and poisons; instead, find yourself a neighbor who can shoot a BB gun or set traps, or learn to do it yourself.
Two years ago, I planted Lamium ‘White Nancy’, a pretty green and white groundcover in this bed. It has slowly spread, and it really lights up an otherwise drab area. I wanted something like that. In the nursery, I spotted a large selection of a pale green and white plant. It looked particularly healthy for so late in the season, with a mass of 6-inch tall stems with leaves on top as well as a few poking out of the holes of the pot. I liked the name, Snow on the Mountain, and picked up three pots. When checking out, I asked the clerk if the plant could handle significant sun. “Oh, don’t worry,” she said, “This plant can handle just about anything.” Do you think she was trying to tell me something?
Before planting, I decided to get some information on my lovely new plant so I could share it in this blog. Good thing, too, because I had just purchased a plant that is considered invasive in Wisconsin and a little dangerous everywhere else. Snow on the Mountain (Aegopodium Podagraria ‘variegata’ ) is also called Bishop’s weed or goutweed and is a useful for covering big areas that won’t support much else, such as under trees. It’s also good in contained planters, such as these shown on the U of M’s web site. But for most gardeners it’s just too hardy and getting rid of it is darn near impossible.
For now, the potential invaders are sitting in their pots outside my garage–where new sprouts are popping out of the pot holes everyday. Next time, I’ll do my research before going to the nursery.