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Report From PIA – April 4

Two years ago, when we made the rain garden, I saw that the bare soil in this new bed was a problem. The dirt and assorted debris from the surface would wash away with every rainfall, and despite my best efforts, the weed seeds germinated every ten days.

Clearly, the sooner I got perennials established in this bed, the better off I would be. So I planted Japanese Anemones, Chrysogonum virginianum and Lysimachia nummularia ‘Aurea’. Yes, I knew that this Lysimachia was soon to be banned in Boston, and all of Massachusetts and I was well aware that all Lysimachias are prone to taking over.

What was I thinking? After just two years this plant has, indeed, spread like wildfire. It is eating my anemones and primroses for breakfast, and looking toward the rest of the property for lunch. Today, I started digging it out.

Yes, this Lysimachia did what I wanted…it has choked out the weeds and kept the soil in place. It’s just done it’s job too well is all, and I see that if I don’t get rid of it this year, it is possible that in ten years the only plant living at Poison Ivy Acres will be this golden creeping Jenny.

Why is it that we humans are so willing to think that other’s experiences don’t apply to us? There is a reason, after all, that Lysimachia nummularia is no longer sold in Massachusetts. On the eve of that ban, why did I think that I could keep this plant under control?

On the one hand, going against the grain can be a good thing. Sometimes things succeed against all odds, after all. But there are many instances when we are better served to follow common wisdom. As I dig this creeping Jenny out of my garden, knowing that I’ll have to keep after the new shoots all summer, I remind myself that sometimes taking chances pays off, sometimes it doesn’t, and sometimes it pays to listen to others.

Two short years ago this was a 6 inch wide plant in a 4 inch pot. Now, this creeping Jenny spreads over four feet and covers my primrose seedlings. Yikes! Get it out of here!

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