Not a bully

Cypress spurge (Euphorbia cyparissias, below) is an aggressive bully, I hear, and perhaps it is grudgingly admired but reviled by most gardeners, though it is favored in this garden for its finely textured, needle-like foliage and bright blooms. Here, it displays little sign of its reputed invasiveness, so while I cannot recommend this spurge, I am quite happy to have it in the garden.

In fact, where the main patch of cypress spurge once was, it has been driven into submission by a red leafed geranium (Geranium maculatum ‘Espresso’, below). For a few years the spurge and geranium combined in early spring for a marvelous color combination, but then the spurge was eliminated, banished to a few small clumps on the far side of the patio.

The last remnants of cypress spurge have now been driven from this area by seedlings of Espresso geranium. While foliage color variation is seen in the geraniums in years past, the clump is now fully red leafed.

I hear no complaints that geraniums make unwelcome advances in gardens, though on an average year I must pull a hundred seedlings. By definition, an invasive plant is one that displaces natives, but other aggressors are often labeled as such because they are difficult to manage. But, is cypress spurge such a bully when it is displaced by a mild mannered geranium?

In other parts of the garden interventions are occasionally required to keep the peace. I notice today that Creeping Jenny (Lysimachia nummelaria ‘Aurea’) is creeping onto a patch of a very low growing sedum beside the koi pond (above). ‘Jenny’ can be meek, or mildly aggressive when the situation suits it, and here it will be a relatively simple matter to pry Creeping Jenny off the sedum. Still, I’ve noticed this in recent weeks and haven’t done anything yet, and the roots are probably tangling more by the day, so I’d better get to it before the sedum is harmed.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. tonytomeo says:

    Montbretia moved into part of a landscape here years ago, prior to my time. Those who were here at the time were not aware of how aggressive it is. It would be impossible to eradicate it now, although it does not seem to be advancing in any direction. It just stays put. What is weirder is that the two things that it displaced are English and Algerian ivies. I have no problem with that.

    1. Dave says:

      In this part of the world crocosmias are very well behaved. I have small clumps planted around that very slowly increase.Such are the environmental differences between your end of the country and mine.

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