Plants can often mimic what is happening in society today. Sometimes plants that initially serve a purpose, can get out of control. Uncontrollable plants will destroy, an otherwise beautiful garden. We are often reminded, a beautiful garden is not always perfect. Certain plants have traits that are beneficial (or not) in this garden we call life.
CHINESE PRIVET (Ligustrum sinense)
Many of us see this understory shrub as something innocent. Don’t be fooled. The semievergreen leaf lingers through mild winters and is a great filler for floral arrangements. Left uncontrolled in the landscape, Privet can do more harm than good.
Found alongside moist areas, near woodlands, Privet was at one time a desirable plant. Emitting a fragrance so subtly sweet, we have welcomed it into our gardens for privacy. Over time, we have found out that it forms dense thickets. The thickets have a tendency to block out native plant species. When native undergrowth is not given a chance to survive, privet can take over. Are you a Privet personality?
HONEYSUCKLE ( Lonicera japonica)
Oh, those plants in the springtime with sweet scents! Many of us remember the scent and taste of honeysuckle. Growing up in Washington, DC, as the sweet scent wafted through the air, those sinewy vines with the sweet tubular blooms beckoned us. We would pluck them, raise them to our lips, and enjoy the fresh taste of the season. The walk home from school was a delicious one. Memories of this moment bring a smile to my lips.
Did you know, the honeysuckle vine will girdle small trees to death. These vines can climb to the treetops and shade the undergrowth from surviving. No matter how beautiful, some species are on the USDA invasive species list. Are you a honeysuckle personality?
MULTIFLORA ROSE/ROSA MULTIFLORA (Seven Sisters Rose)
Ah, the Multiflora Rose is such a sweet-smelling plant that calls out to us in the late Spring. This tough plant can be found just about anywhere. As I walked along the woods line last week, a song came to mind. I began to hum. It was a familiar hymn, often sung in Church. It speaks of a sweet, sweet spirit in this place. I thought of a sweet, sweet scent along my way. No matter how beautiful and sweet-smelling this rose is, you do not want it in your yard.
This rose can get out of hand quickly and can form thickets that can be extremely hard to penetrate. It is not picky about where it lives. From woodlands, fields, and even pastures. If there is soil…it will grow. It is considered an ecological threat to nature. A strong plant that suppresses even the strongest of native undergrowth, leaving a thick mass of thorny stems. Are you a Multiflora Rose personality?
Such a giving plant. Not just for Monarchs, Asclepius is a food source for other insects. This plant provides a home for laying eggs, sap as a food source, and consumed by the hatching caterpillars as well. Talk abut a natural multi-tasker! Milkweed is used for medicine, a resource for cleaning oil spills, and more. You could say this plant is quite concerned with making sure that the cycle of nature continues. I would say Asclepius is a plant with a conscious. Do you have the personality of the Asclepius??
Nature teaches us many lessons. Simple things we need to pay attention to. We each have a choice to make. We can smell sweet, be appealing to the eye, yet harmful to our very existence. The other option is to be encouraging, nurturing, understanding, and provide positive food for growth. Our choices can leave a legacy of suppression or provide fertile ground for growth.
Our world is one large garden, what kind of plant will you choose to be?
Providing compost via positive imagery of all things beautiful to our world garden…
Teri, Cottage In The Courtby