When beauty turns ugly

When Mary and Linda and I returned to the car with our purchases, Mary lamented that The Vagary didn’t have three plants she had been hoping for to fill in gaps in her flower garden. She had picked up plenty of thyme, though, which she was planning to plant in the spaces between the stepping stones that wind between the flowers.

“The theory is that you step on the thyme as you go, and it makes the garden smell wonderful,” Mary explained.

Linda hadn’t brought a list, and, like me, she bought plants that she didn’t think she had room for. She was just planning to fit them in where she could around her lovely vegetable-and-flower garden and her wooded property.

But once our car doors were closed, she unleashed a little bit of venom toward another customer. “Did you hear that woman asking for purple loosestrife?” she hissed.

“Really?” Mary replied. “She thought they’d sell that?”

“What’s purple loosestrife?” I asked.

“It’s highly invasive,” Mary explained. “But it is beautiful in the garden.”

“It gets into the waterways and chokes them off,” Linda said. “It’s an awful, awful plant.”

“So did one of the salespeople tell her off?” I asked.

“No,” Linda said. “I did. I told her it was a highly invasive and destructive plant, and that no one should have it in their garden.”

I’d heard of the usual invasive suspects: garlic mustard, and kudzu, for example, and sometimes even mint. But since that trip, I’ve been paying more attention to information about invasives, just to educate myself on the subject. I definitely don’t want to inadvertently plant one.

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3 Responses to “When beauty turns ugly”


  1. 1 steven June 9, 2006 at 10:05 pm

    purple loostrife is a beautiful plant but it does all the things you’ve described above.

  2. 2 Debra July 5, 2006 at 11:47 am

    Purple Loosestrife is banned for sale or importation in the state of Ohio… yet several garden centers still sell it in their garden mixes. I believe there are varieties that are not invasive.. but I still would only consider planting it in a garden.

  3. 3 inadvertentgardener July 5, 2006 at 6:07 pm

    Debra, I can’t believe people still sell it! Bizarre…


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