Last year, I noticed that my Pacific Aster (Symphyotrichum chilense 'Purple Haze') had spread beyond my expectations but I wasn't overly concerned. When I planted it in 2016, I knew it spread by rhizomes but I understood that in low water gardens like mine it should be manageable, and it was, at least during our drought. Then during our October 2018-September 2019 rain year, we got almost double our average precipitation. And, while rain was lighter during our recent rainy season, even that was better than average. Following the last rainstorm we had in early May, I finally confronted the fact that the aster is completely out of control.
|This is the bed's eastern flank and, even here, the aster is pushing into the flagstone path|
|It now stretches from one side of the bed to the other. I only have record of putting in one plant but I vaguely recall that I added a second sometime shortly after planting the first one because it seemed to do so well...|
It's a pretty enough plant but it's begun choking out plants all around it.
|It's supposed to flower from August through October but it's off to an early start this year|
|Along its western flank it's now choking out the Liriope spicata I foolishly planted on that edge years ago. I've been planning to take out the Liriope for some time. Now, I guess I can tackle it and the aster at the same time.|
The aster is deciduous but I'm not sure I should wait until late fall to start pulling it out. It's already trying to march across the flagstone path into the bed on the other side. I'll probably start by pushing back its eastern offensive before tackling its western flank.
Meanwhile, other plants in the same general area have also become overly "exuberant." The bush violets (Barleria obtusa) are also trying to squeeze out their neighbors.
In addition, my "dwarf" Echium handiense doubled in size this year.
|It looked great in February, when these photos were taken, although it was already large for the spot|
|When the first flower spires died back, I pruned it and it flowered again, albeit in a bushier fashion. In mid-May when this photo was taken, it was covering a good portion of the flagstone path.|
Echiums tolerate tip pruning well but I took things much further than that this past weekend when I cut this one back to clear the pathway and give the surrounding plants breathing space. I'm afraid it may not recover.
|It looks pretty awful at the moment. I'm half-tempted to pull it out but I may give it a little time to see if it'll recovers from my butcher job. I wish I'd collected seed while I had the chance.|
Are you dealing with any out-of-control plants? Do you have any problem areas you try not to see in your garden? Come on, fess up! Confession is good for the soul.
All material © 2012-2020 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party