Garden Lore

“A weed is a plant that is not only in the wrong place, but intends to stay.”

My Weeds by Sara Stein (1988).

Decidedly invasive geissorhiza

Decidedly invasive geissorhiza

Dangerous Escapees

Behold two of the prettiest weeds in our rockery. Both are bulbs and have dangerously invasive habits. Both will have been bought as ornamentals and frankly should not be sold without a warning, in our opinion. The blue is a geissorhiza – probably G. aspera – and I shudder to think how many hours have been spent carefully digging out this bulb year after year after year and ensuring that none ever go to seed. It spreads readily from seed but take a look at that cluster of bulbs in the photo. It makes numerous offsets every year and as you try and dig out the flowering stem, the little bulbs detach readily and every sodding bulb grows. Every one that flowers in our rockery in spring represents a survivor from two decades of sustained attempts at weeding it out.

The pink is an allium but with over 850 different allium species, I have no idea where to start on identifying it. Pretty it may be but you can see it has the same habit of forming multiple bulb offsets as the geissorhiza. Not only that but it has another trick up its sleeve. Look at the centre of the flowers – that is not seed forming. No, it is another dozen or so offsets ready to make a bid for independent life after one season.

Pretty they may be. So is onion weed quite pretty in its way. But you liberate these sorts of pretty weeds at your peril. There are plenty of lovely plants to go without knowingly unleashing more garden escapes.

Decidedly dangerous allium

Decidedly dangerous allium

First published in the Waikato Times and reprinted here with their permission.

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