Friday, Jul. 19, 2002
I'm sorry to have to say this, but some plants are just born bad.
And some of us gardeners, well, we love us the bad boys even though we know that the minute we turn our backs on them they'll be bitchslapping their neighbours and demanding protection money.
Oh yes, it can be a jungle out there in the perennial garden.
When I was first beginning my garden I didn't realize that there was a sleazy underbelly to the plant world. I envisaged a happy Garden of Eden where everyone lived in peace and flourished.
Then I met mint and goose-necked loosestrife. I should have known something was up when the woman who was giving them to me ripped some hunks out of the ground and just handed it to me like that.
"Um, shouldn't it have some earth around the roots?" I anxiously inquired.
Her wild-eyed semi-hysterical laugh should have been a tip off. But I was young, inexperienced, and did not know The Evil That Lurks In The Heart of Plants. So I planted them when what I should have done is burned them with a flamethrower, run the ashes over a couple of dozen times with my car, welded the ashes into a lead box, and buried them 20 feet deep.
The word aggressive does not begin to describe these plants. Turn your back on them and before you know it they've throttled the phlox and are smacking around the delphinium. Every spring I'd try to wipe them out and every year they'd come back.
I'm an organic gardener so the thermonuclear solution (a herbicide called Round-Up) is off limits to me. Eventually I closed down the flower bed they were in and grassed it over. Call it Plants 1, Marn 0.
You would think that having sparred with these two I would know enough to order an exorcism on anyone who approaches me offering me a bit of plant they've just torn from the ground. But oh, no, that would be too easy.
So my gardens contain one last bad boy. I know it's wrong, that this is not a healthy relationship, but the truth is I have been sucked in by a pretty face and the company he keeps.
Yes, I am talking about bee balm aka bergamot aka monarda.
Hey, when you're a thug, you can't have too many aliases, eh.
This plant is a winner on many levels. It has a unique flower and it contains the oil that gives Earl Grey tea it's distinctive flavour. It is a favourite of hummingbirds and one of the reasons we have oodles of those little emerald cuties is that we have oodles of bee balm.
Because, you see, bee balm respects no boundaries. I was just out in my garden and I saw it leering at my daylilies. I grabbed a big hunk and pulled, but I know I haven't stopped it, I've just set it back a bit.
A rational woman would have gotten rid of the evil that is bee balm long ago, but I can't. I know I've been sucked in by a pretty face and the fun of watching the hummingbirds, the Harrier Jets of the bird world, zip around the property. And I know that because of the bee balm's aggressiveness there are plants in my garden which are taking a terrible smacking this year.
Well, those sissies are just going to have to suck it up.
I have my needs.
Want to delve into my sordid past?
She's mellllllllllllllting - Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2012 - Back off, Buble - Monday, Dec. 19, 2011 - Dispersed - Monday, Nov. 28, 2011 - Nothing comes for free - Monday, Nov. 21, 2011 - None of her business - Friday, Nov. 04, 2011 -
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