Readers in America will have to forgive me some of this. I understand you have many ‘invasives’ and many people only wish to grow native plants. And I think many of you have local rules which also inform what you are allowed to plant. Though it does seems some Ranters like to indulge a weed.

In the UK we have been cautioned not to call slugs and snails ‘pests’  , no doubt because it will offend them. And now we been forbidden to call a weed a weed.  ‘Hero Plants’ they are now. We do have an invasive plant list in the UK, but there’s only about a dozen plants in it, but we do have a lot of what people term ‘thugs’, which they moan about volubly. Confused? 

Well, my theme here is not really the particular  plants I use as examples, so if any give you the horrors or would lead to you getting arrested if you adopted them, please spend a few minutes thinking of usable alternatives.

I think many people fear weeds because the weeds may gobble up the more delicate and refined plants. But many of us have quite large areas with no refined plants and none on the horizon, given the price plants are managing to sell at now.  Some of us have quite large areas covered with a ‘hero plant’ we have been unable to get rid of. However, wandering round Veddw, as I do, I have been thinking how many rampant plants work well with other rampant plants.

I have a lot of ground elder, (Aegopodium Podagraria) for example. Which I gather you can eat. Though I know that if it were really nice to eat, the supermarkets would sell it. But I have it mixed very pleasurably with some other plants. 

Ground elder and Persicaria campanulatum at Veddw Garden copyright Anne Wareham

Here it is with Persicaria campanulata, which in the summer will ordinarily take over from the ground elder. Either of them can give UK gardeners the horrors, but they are happy together and you may even find yourself able to enjoy their springtime mingle. Quite attractive, I find it.

Last year I experimented with letting my hostas fight it out with the ground elder, and I confess the ground elder was a little too victorious. I don’t contemplate getting rid of it, as I know some people try to – I’m absolutely against futile and demanding activity. But it will get cut back regularly this year to give the hostas the upper hand. Management is my theme.

Hosta and ground elder at Veddw Garden copyright Anne Wareham

Were you to look very carefully at that photo you might spot another reputed monster: vinca minor  (periwinkle) in that picture. A bit of an enemy in America, I understand. And probably here too. We inherited it with a ruined cottage, and from there it has spread:

Vinca in the Coppice at Veddw Garden copyright Anne Wareham

Quite a bit of periwinkle.

It’s doing no harm there, and I do notice that other plants do come through it:

Blue wood anemone with vinca at Veddw Garden copyright Anne Wareham

Blue wood anemone with periwinkle

The anemone has been in for some years and is slowly begining to spread. This euphorbia (what is it??) is happy submerged in periwinkle.

Euphorbia amongst periwinkle in Veddw Garden copyright Anne Wareham

At the edge of the periwinkle there is ivy, along with Erythronium White Beauty (see also) looking very happy. Will it seed into and spread maybe in the periwinkle? 

Erythronium White Beauty in the Coppice at Veddw Garden copyright Anne Wareham

Elsewhere a different variety of periwinkle is almost failing to hold its own:

Vinca, rodgersia, and persicaria at Veddw Garden copyright Anne Wareham

Periwinkle competing with persicaria and (see on the top right) rodgersia. Looking good.

The rodgersia wins, of course:

Rodgersia at Veddw Garden copyright Anne Wareham

Where’s the periwinkle gone?

I think ivy is well hated though we manage to cohabit happily, including having an ivy fence.

Ivy Fence at Veddw Garden copyright Anne Wareham

Maybe it’s more correctly a hedge? I think some call it a ‘fedge’.

It will also mingle pleasantly:

lamium and ivy copyright Anne Wareham

Lamium and ivy

That wicked ground elder has a variegated version which also makes pleasing combinations, in this case with a plant I know a friend of mine has been painstakingly removing from his garden:

Last year I enjoyed this combination, purely resulting from my inability to weed this area satisfactorily. And now I won’t try.

Geranium macrorrhizum and creeping buttercup at Veddw Garden copyright Anne Wareham

Geranium macrorrhizum and creeping buttercup. (Bad plant = Ranunculus repens)

And here’s a fun battle –

Euphorbia Fireglow and ground elder

Euphorbia Fireglow invading some ground elder

Are you begining to see some possibilities? If you love the leaves when they are fresh and new it is possible to strim them after they’ve been growing a couple of months to make them start again. This will also reduce their vigour, which you might possibly think is a good thing too.

I am always frustrated by knowing that the people who really hate gardening but who have a garden will never read garden posts and books. So they won’t benefit from contemplating such possibilities. But maybe you know someone like that and could suggest some vigorous and not illegal combination to them? Here is one of my biggest favourites:

There must be some possibilities for you? And just think how sound it will make you. Wild Gardens are IN. Aa a lover of ‘hero’ plants –  you’ll be a star.