Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Wicked Plants in the Garden

This time of year, one of my favorite garden books comes to mind -  "Wicked Plants" by Amy Stewart:


The author chronicles all sorts of nasty, evil plants that very well may be lurking in your own garden (and mine)! Not only entertaining, but educational as well, this book also just looks fantastic - beautiful botanical illustrations accompany the text and a handy book ribbon is included to mark your place. It's a real eye-opener, when you realize some of your favorite, common garden plants can be quite lethal if not handled properly. She describes in detail (sometimes quite humorously too!) stories of those unfortunate souls who succumbed to these black sheep of the garden.

Not in "Wicked Plants," but just as evil in my book, is green briar (at least that's what I think it is). I have been battling a patch of this stuff for the last few years in a stretch of yard between my neighbor's house and mine.  Around this time of year, this wickedly-barbed vine seems to grow about a foot a day, entangling itself in the shrubs, and is now snaking it's way underground, popping up in the lawn (in search of water, I'm thinking).  It's like the plant equivalent of those snake-headed, razor-tooth asian walking fish invading our waterways. . .

Evidently, the only way to eradicate it is to dig up every one of it's potato-like tubers (there's a lot of them), or paint Round-Up on the exposed edge after cutting them down (not an option in an anti-Monsanto, organic garden).  Here's a picture of my nemesis:

Note: the leaves in this photo do not belong to the vine; only the vine itself with it's nasty little pointies (that go right through your average garden gloves) is shown above.  So once again, I'll keep trying to outsmart this Little Shop of Horrors offspring. Wish me luck (I'll need it, and a big box of band-aids too).