This site is for people who like plants -- growers, enthusiasts, aesthetes, novices and professionals, those who appreciate wild things and those who appreciate the cultivated. I garden in Chelsea, and I've been visiting people's yards for 20+ years in the course of my work. My goal is to make this blog a community project, so if you share my interests, please consider becoming a participant and contributing content -- Guerin. Info:

Friday, May 6, 2011

Some wide-spreading garden plants

Rare in the wild in Michigan, the beloved Virginia bluebells (Mertensia virginica) spreads readily in the garden. This is only a piece of a massive display along Newport Rd earlier today. It will all disappear underground next month.

Tulipa tarda doesn't merit inclusion in Michigan Flora, so I assume it is well-enough behaved, but it will grab unoccupied spaces in the garden. It might even work under a Norway maple where nothing else will grow. This planting is along Mapleridge off Arborview. 

Best to stay away from this little buttercup know as lesser celandine (Ficaria verna or Ranunculus ficaria). So far it's behaved itself in Michigan, but in other parts of the nation it is considered an invasive pest. Years ago I planted an ugly form called Brazen Hussy. Someone should have stayed my hand.

And let's not forget Scilla. Yesterday was the first time my 10-year-old son expressed disgust at my garden when he passed a large sweep of bent over Scilla leaves. And today I yanked out a couple hundred deeply-embedded bulbs of a fall-flowering Scilla species.  Anyway, what do you think? There's a poll on the right side of this page. So far two people have contributed (one being me). If I don't get a couple more participants soon, I will remove the poll to avoid further embarrassment. (Poll was pulled, or pull was poled, whatever: four responses does not make a proper population statistics-wise).

Speaking of plants that spread, this weekend is your last opportunity to go after garlic mustard. It is bolting, fast! If you pull it up any later you'll have to bag it since it will continue to bolt and set seed even though you've ripped it from the earth. Ditto if you opt to spray it with Round-up.


  1. Does it seem like there is more garlic mustard seedlings this year than in other years? I am feeling totally overwhelmed.

  2. I hope you don't mind a question. A person asked me to identify 2 shrubs in her yard. I didn't recognize them but in researching on the web, they look exactly like Euonymus japonica, but apparently it isn't hardy here. She says her shrubs are evergreen. Any ideas?

  3. The garlic mustard seedlings have appeared by the billions this year. I pose the question: did it rain g.m. seeds last year? I've heard of it raining frogs and raining fish, why not seeds? The volume of seedlings this year is really remarkable and I have not been able to imagine anything that might account for it. High winds when the seed was ready for dispersal? Euonymus vegetus can assume shrub form. There are lots of cultivars, many with variegated leaves, often with scale, I see it often. And there are many species of euon. that are not commonly planted and that you wouldn't necessarily find via a quick search. And thanks for reading and participating in this blog! I really appreciate it. -G

  4. I don't care what you say about scilla, I still love it! I can pretend I have water-front property for two weeks of the year when an acre of it creates a magnificent sea of blue in my back yard. It also disappears after a few weeks unlike all the other uncontrollable, invasive plants in my garden such as bishops weed, creeping charlie, lamium, buckthorn, cleavers, grass, etc. Their season is endless and they can't be eradicated no matter how hard I try.
    -carol g