Bad Company

IMG_0162 (2)Lucinda and Lionel are not bad people, they have just got in with the wrong crowd.  They are sharing their lives with thugs, delinquents and ne’er-do-wells, a veritable band of rogues.  I can understand the attraction of these villains, they are powerful, persistent and often glamorous, they promise vigour and strength.  They are enchanting and charismatic.  Their numbers include the statuesque and well-armed Acanthus spinosa, bear’s breeches, whose roots tunnel to Hades where Charon (as a welcome change from all that rowing) holds on tight to ensure you will never be rid of them.  To some just the mention of their name brings on palpitations and flashbacks of attempts to relocate this admittedly attractive miscreant.  The dark and determined Opiophogon planiscapus “Nigresens”, lilyturf, is the designer’s favourite with its black grass like leaves that add drama and contrast to the garden.  The fact that where you plant it for optimum effect is never quite where it wants to be so surreptitiously crawls to its place of choice before attacking the other occupants with a horticultural sledgehammer.  We mustn’t forget the fragrant temptress Lemon Balm, with all her promises of health and healing.  Her virtuous ways lead us to unwise oblivion and while we sip our calming tissanes the enchantress colonises the whole neighbourhood.  The exotic master of deception must be Houttuynia cordata, the multicoloured foliage of cultivars may look fun and frivolous, but do not let the chameleon plant fool you, now you see him here, now you see him everywhere!  Perhaps the most despicable of them all is the baby face Aster.  On the surface its delicate purple blooms captivate whilst below ground its ever searching roots will not be held back, tranforming your plot into a field of daisies.  On Friday I traced the roots of a lemon balm, up valley and down dale, under clumps of daffs and crocuses, through shrubs and dormant perennials, and back again.  Admittedly it was a rather fragrant job, I may well have succumbed to her intoxicating ways.  In fact I even took some home, rest assured she will be manacled to a pot!

10 thoughts on “Bad Company

  1. Thanks for the case of giggles I got from reading this description of garden thugs and villainesses. I had been thinking of acquiring an Acanthus spinosa, as it would be so delightful to draw, but perhaps I would be better off looking for one in a public garden!

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  2. Hilarious! May I add to your list Eomecon chionantha, Chinese bloodroot. It has such pretty flowers, but possesses all the self control of a rampaging bull. A big mistake in a tiny garden. Meanwhile my Ophiopogon seems to have disappointingly little ambition compared to yours. Perhaps a good thing!

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  3. All the above mentioned are garden tugs even in our climate, with one exception – the Acanthus!
    If you manage to establish one in the garden, it will thrive but without spreading around – such a beautiful plant!

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  4. Oh do I ever relate to your comment about Houttuynia cordata!! Having bought the current house in midwinter, I had no clue that this particular nastiness existed in it… until it was too late. I am not looking forward to seeing it again once the snow melts. And am I the only one who thinks the plant smells nasty when bruised? phew!!!!

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