OMG, If I had only known!

By Randy Scott, Henrico Master Gardener Intern

Spring finally arrived, and I had finished the Henrico Master Gardener course. I decided to use my new-found knowledge and redo my planting areas. First, I needed an inventory of my current plants. I eagerly started snapping pictures to identify and note the plants in each bed. It was then that I started to recall that some of the plant names were mentioned as invasive plants in class.

I went to my computer and printed off the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation “Invasive Plant List.” I hesitantly started checking the list. It was then that I realized among my many plants were Japanese wisteria, Liriope, mimosa trees, Vinca major, Vinca minor, yellow flag Iris, bamboo, English ivy, winter creeper, and Chinese privet. A few days later as I read the list of plants not to bring for the Master Gardener plant sale, I found out that cane Nandina, burning bush and Russian olive were considered invasive. As I continued to look around my yard, I noticed that, while not listed, tiger lily should be. They owned my front, side and back yard!

I needed a moment to reflect on my situation, so I started pulling weeds — only to find a Tree of Heaven.

At that point I started to rethink my desire to design beautiful beds with my new knowledge.

In thinking back over the 37 years of developing this nightmare collection of specimens in my yard I realized why so many individuals were so eager to give me free plants. Now I must decide how to fix this evil collection.

Then I remembered something my grandfather use to say. A weed is something that grows where you don’t want it. So for now I am working on developing a renovation plan. I am leaving the plants alone along with the wire grass. They are green, easy to grow and maintain. My neighbors and friends think everything looks great. So, for now, I’ll just put the shovel back in the shed. I will take a seat under the gazebo and marvel at my yard.

Moral to the story is: if someone offers you all the free plants you want, stay home. By the way, does anyone need any Vinca?