Sunday, July 24, 2011

A Garden Thug Stopped in its Tracks

I had a tough job on my hands the other day when I decided to reduce the size of a clump of gardener’s garters or reed canary grass Phalaris arundinacea picta. It may be 'Feesey's Form' but I'm not sure. For the last decade (of drought) the little clump of striped cream and green leaves blushed prettily with pink has behaved itself admirably and I wondered why I was advised to treat it with caution. Well after 9 months of regular rainfall my clump had tripled in height and width and was mounting a take-over campaign of its bed. It had got into a clump of Cuban lilies Scilla peruviana and was starting to pop up under the brick edging in the path. The picture is of me using a spade to lever the entire clump out – this plant spreads by rhizomes and the roots had penetrated almost 30cm deep and twice as wide. Having learned my lesson I planted a small clump into a pot and sunk this into the garden bed. I will need to lift this to divide and replant every year but this should keep it contained. I have blocked the holes in the base of the pot with fly wire but I am under no illusions as to whether this will keep the plant confined. The lip of the pot is a good 4cm above the level of the soil both inside and out. Fingers are crossed!

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