Just lucky?

I was warned, but couldn’t resist planting Pinellia, a jack-in-the-pulpit cousin that is quite aggressive with numerous reports that it could not be controlled or eradicated. Call me stupid (others have), but I plunged forward. Now, I thank my good fortune that Pinellia has spread, but that I was lucky enough to plant it with severe root competition that has limited its spread to a relatively small patch, and one that I am thrilled to have. Yes, a part of the pleasure is being told no, going ahead regardless, and so far getting away with it.

This is not the first aggressive plant that has pooped out in competition, and here it is not only the shallow roots of a long established ‘Burgundy Lace’ Japanese maple, but a vigorous, but easily managed purple leafed ajuga. The Pinellia has been around for five years (maybe), so I’m pretty confident at this point that it’s not going to bully its way through the ajuga.

Of course, this is all a complete accident. I was warned about Pinellia’s aggressive nature, but didn’t consider it for a moment in placing it. The Japanese maple was there long before, and the area now covered by ajuga and others was bare, heavily shaded ground beneath the canopy of a densely branched, gold tipped English yew. Nothing grew here, and the yew was declining in the shade, so it was chopped out. There was at least a brief opportunity for Pinellia when the ground was sparsely covered by the new plantings, but it didn’t happen. Just lucky, no question.

Just above the Pinellia is a variegated Japanese cleyera (Cleyera japonica ‘Tokyo Sunrise’, above) planted late last summer. I am skeptical that this cleyera will live up to its zone 7 hardiness designation, but temperatures the past several winters haven’t fallen below ten degrees, so ‘Tokyo Sunrise’ and another marginally cold hardy schefflera (Schefflera delavayi, below) that’s survived two winters with no protection might be well established by the time a real winter comes along again (if ever).

This is a bit more than just good luck, though in the short term I will not complain about the mild winters. A variegated fatsia (Fatsia japonica ‘Spider’s Web’, below) has survived several winters, the first with the protection of a basket of leaves, but none the past two, and I was aware that the limits were being stretched. I’m uncertain what it is that encourages the gardener to push the limits of cold hardiness, but count me in, and so far I’ve been fortunate that all have survived.

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