Mimosa – Albizia julibrissin INVASIVE PLANT

Over the years travelers have brought back interesting plants from all over the world. Some plants are brought back because of their beauty. Other plants are brought to the U.S. to serve a purpose like roadway stabilization as in the case of Kudzu. Often these exotic plants from overseas become problematic. They can take over the local habitat in ways that are not foreseen and gradually push out other plants that should be growing there. One such plant is the Mimosa tree. Mimosa (Albizia julibrissin) is a small tree that originally came from China and was brought as a landscape tree.   The mimosa tree was brought to the U.S. in 1745 and is still sought after today because of the beautiful fuzzy pink flowers that emerge in the summer. The problem is that these trees produce seeds that get widely distributed and displace native plants. Invasive plants reduce the…

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What Is The Least Favorite Plant in Your Garden?

For a long time now I have denigrated my Bradford pear tree.  It's smelly in the spring, although it looks nice.  It produces loads of inedible fruit that spawns offspring in my garden and everywhere else the birds decide to fly.  Bradford pear trees are generally weak trees that split because of their "V" shaped branch unions that cluster with more branches than a hydra has heads.  There are many, many, many reasons why you shouldn't plant these invasive ornamental Callery pear trees but they get planted anyway in gardens and landscapes by builders and homeowners looking for a cheap, fast growing tree that has an attractive and uniform appearance.  Remember looks aren't everything when planting a tree. Obviously the Bradford pear tree is a good candidate for my least favorite plant in my garden.  I haven't brought myself to slaughter it yet, however that has never been far from my mind.  The…

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Randomness Around the Garden

This was one of those weekends where my garden time was fairly limited. I still managed to get outdoors some and accomplish a few little things. The biggest task was putting together the garden cart for my mower. It took almost two hours. That's probably where most of my outdoor time went but when it comes to paying the store $20 or doing the job myself I'd rather keep the money in my pocket! I did take a few minutes to photograph some of what's going on in the garden. The self-sowing celosia is looking great! This particular flower is almost in the shape of a crown. I planted celosia two years ago here and it has taken off.  Be warned because it could become invasive if you allowed it to run amok. Of course it's easy enough to control with just a little bit of manual labor. The crape…

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Sweet Autumn Clematis

It's that time of year when the fall plants begin to start their show. One such plant is the Sweet Autumn Clematis (Clematis terniflora). This non-native clematis grows prolifically through the summer and gladly will climb any structure it meets then blooms in the fall. I picked up two of these on the discount racks and even though I know they can be invasive I gave into the temptation to plant it. The reason why is easy to see - the massive amounts of blooms! (which means massive amounts of seed) One is in our back deck garden and the other is planted up by the mailbox.  Sweet Autumn clematis attracts the bees and the butterflies and adds an almost honeysuckle like scent to the air. In the picture below a single clematis was planted next to our deck and covered much of the railing as well as two hooks…

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Garden Mistakes: Artemisia

Have you ever put something in the garden that you just shouldn't have? Maybe you thought "I don't have a better place to put this so I'll just stick it in here" or even "I'll stick this plant here and keep it trimmed back." I've thought both of those many times and made mistakes and the latter statement gets me all the time! One of my more recent mistakes was with an artemisia. Don't get me wrong there are several artemisia varieties can be great or even awesome plants. I love 'Powis Castle' with it's large fluffy mounds of silver foliage and I like 'Silver Mound' also (I would rate it higher if only it wouldn't flop open in the middle). Both of which I'll keep in my garden and neither one is invasive to any degree. In fact I'd be happy if they did spread around a little more!…

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Miscanthis Sinensis Tassels Waving in the Wind

Though it is listed in the invasive plants list for Tennessee the very quality that makes Miscanthis sinensis so invasive makes it fun to have in the garden, the seeds!  Ornamental grasses of all kinds add great fall color interest with their seed heads or tassels that wave in the wind. This particular variety is 'Zebrinus' or Zebra grass. If you are looking for a nice substitute for miscanthus that is also a native try switch grass (Panicum virgatum). I've added two switchgrass varieties this year to the gardens: 'Shenandoah' and 'Northwind'. Both of which are worthy plants in the landscape but are a little different in appearance than miscanthus. 'Shenandoah' has a nice reddish tint to its late summer and fall foliage with clouds of seeds. 'Northwind' is a strong upright plant with green foliage and airy seed heads. 'Shenandoah' is in our back garden near the greenhouse and…

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Euonymous fortunei, a Portrait of an Invasive

Have you ever wondered why some plants are considered invasive? It's usually because if the growing conditions are even slightly favorable they take over. Invasiveness can be due to a number of traits like rapid growth, prolific reseeding, and rooting vine habits. Euonymous fortunei is one such plant in which I have observed to have at least two of these traits. It demonstrates rapid growth which by itself doesn't doom it to the invasive list, but it also shows the ability to root anywhere, anytime, and anyhow!It's variegated leaves make it attractive to plant in foundation gardens but if you look closely you will see a patch of aerial roots. These roots are capable of making a new plant where ever they may find suitable soil. Many plants that tend to have vine-like growth have the ability to root like this. The roots can help anchor them to other surfaces…

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Bradford Pears Breaking Buds

I bet when you read the first three words "Bradford Pears breaking" you immediately though of another kind of breaking. One of the reasons they are on my least favorite ornamental tree list is because the trees frequently break in storms. These trees grow so fast that the wood suffers and they just can't muster the strength to hold out through heavy winds. That being said they can be very attractive, to the point of everyone having two in their front yard as they do in our neighborhood! The builders went crazy with the cheap, easy to plant, fast growing pear trees. If only they knew what they were doing! These trees are even becoming invasive here in Tennessee. But they sure are pretty, so let's plant them anyway. And they stink too, let's plant more! When in bloom their blossoms reek of a rotting flesh smell that seems very…

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Morning Glories

Could there be anything so easy to grow as a Morning Glory (Ipomoea)? Once a seed sprouts the vine will happily climb whatever structure it lies adjacent to whether it be a tree, shrub, trellis or post. It's not picky!Of course there is the issue of Ipomoea invasiveness. Morning Glories are rapid growers and self seeding phenoms. They can quickly overtake trellises and arbors which makes them a good choice to use for an annual vine to cover your structures. Use them with care becasue they will spread. To help control your Morning Glory plant it in a pot then keep a watchful eye on where the vines travel. You could also pinch off the spent blooms before they go to seed. Another idea would be to collect the seed when the flowers turn into brown pods, then store the seeds so that you may put them where you want…

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Why You Shouldn’t Plant a Bradford Pear Tree But Some People Do Anyway

The Bradford Pear tree (Pyrus calleryana). Sure it looks nice but it's one tree that people should stay away from planting in their yard. At first glance you might wonder "why shouldn't I plant them?" They have a great shape, they grow fast, and they flower profusely in the spring. Unfortunately for the homeowners who plant the Bradford pear all is not as it seems. There are several reasons to avoid them. What is wrong with a Bradford Pear Tree? These trees are extremely over planted. This may just be my own personal opinion but when a plant is planted everywhere I like to avoid it. In our neighborhood the builder deposited 2 Bradford pear trees in each front yard. Everywhere you go you see these pear trees planted and not just by people. The birds help to deposit the seeds in various places and you end up with Bradford…

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