Volunteers can be a good thing, a necessity actually, organizing the local triathalon, fundraising events, community policing. Volunteers in the garden, not so much… Its’ appeal was the brillant greenish yellow flowers, the fine feathery soft textured foliage, tinge red at the ends in spring. It came via seed, delivered by bird or wind I am unsure, but it took up residence in a place in my garden that deserved brightening up. For 2 seasons it remained a gently increasing clump, only this spring I surveyed my garden bed to find hundreds of little fine textured tufts errupting with more more agression than horsetails.
Euphorbia…a good substitute for a 4 letter word. Awareness of ‘Invasive Plants’ is one the rise and a close relative has made the list, earning a designation of Provincial Noxious Weed: Euphorbia esula or Leafy Spurge (24″ tall, blooms in June-July). The species I spent an afternoon doing battle with does not have a designation, but from a busy gardener point of view it should. To kill a snake you must first chop off the head…upon digging up the main plant, I was horrified to find underneath it a stringy ball of elastic underground roots, spreading out to the 4 corners of the bed, at least 6 feet in any direction, only stopping because the garden stopped. I found as I pulled, they were not only spread through the surface soil, but down 1 1/2 feet and deeper, poking out of the rock wall even lower. Each root is covered with hundreds of tiny buds and developing plantlets. Established shrubs had to be dug up, soil shook off and offending plant material removed from deep with in the root ball. It took some serious effort and the better part of an afternoon and I am not confident I have elliminated the threat.
The lesson in all of this is: Even if you know your Volunteers, it is important to check out their behaviour before welcoming them into residence in your garden.
Here is a link to the Invasive Plant Council Of BC, it may come in very handy: http://www.invasiveplantcouncilbc.ca/invasive-plants-bc/invasive-plant-watch/leafy-spurge