Sometimes it’s okay to say “No thank you!”

If you are new to gardening or a new home owner you will quickly realize how generous gardeners can be. Once they hear that you are working on a new garden or have moved to a new house without a garden, they are more than happy to share!

A few words of caution: practice saying, “thanks but no thanks.” You will begin to see that if a friend or family member has so much to share with you, it is a pretty good indication that they have too much to share – and if you say yes, so will you!

See there are many plants, especially perennials that, let’s say, are very popular and very vigorous. I thought I’d share a few with you so that you can keep them in mind…

The first one seems innocuous enough… initially. It is called by a few names: Cornflower or Bachelor Buttons. It’s botanical name is Centaurea montana ‘Blue.’


The first year or two, it is a lovely clump of periwinkle blue flowers. They do re-bloom when cut back mid-season to make for a long flowering plant. Until they show up  in your ‘other‘ garden or in your neighbour’s garden… and, as it spreads silently throughout your yard, the initial clump will get bigger and bigger and yes, you will want to share! So be careful. There are several other long blooming blue perennials that are better behaved – like Rozanne Geranium or May Night Salvia.


The second one I caution you with has a variety of shades of pink. It is called Mallow or Malva sylvestris ‘Zebrina. It resembles a small hibiscus or hollyhock. A profuse bloomer, it can brighten up a garden before it peters out, only to reseed itself next year. So if you are ever offered a handful of seeds from a well meaning friend…. you know what to say!

Hearing the words, “This plant grows anywhere and you can’t kill it!” may sound like a good thing for one brief moment but really think about it and then please say, “no thank you.”

Mallow2 Mallow








The third one I’d like to warn you of is an ever popular ground cover that continues to spread from one well-meaning neighbour to another. It is called Goutweed and, please take its odd name to heart – it is a weed.


Everyone who has it in their garden has it running wild in an area or two of its yard. Please note: they never bought it. Seriously, despite this plant still being sold at the nursery without the proper warnings, I don’t know anyone who has actually bought it – everyone who has it inherited it from a friend or the previous homeowner. It will take over a garden and even a lawn. Yes, it will grow in hard to grow areas like in the shade under trees but trust me, it won’t stay where you put it and it is not worth the trouble!


There are many more I could share about that are similar in behaviour but – trust me on this – follow your landscape design plan and choose your perennials carefully! And, if in doubt, please send me an email. I would be happy to help!


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