I kind of knew that would happen. A huge stand of smartweed surrounds the compost pile, and I know my nice crumbly dirt and leaves did not really cook enough to sterilize anything.
|Weedy smartweed. Kind of pretty, but ugh.|
Pink flowered smartweed gets to be a huge arching plant. It's a Persicaria -- fortunately not the horribly invasive Japanese knotweed that is in the family, but smartweed also takes over wherever it seeds. And it is now seeded in all my gardens. I am so tired of endlessly weeding this plant.
I have another Persicaria in my garden, but it's one I planted and loved and now I don't know what to do with it. It's a well behaved dwarf, Persicaria affinis 'Dimity', also called Himalayan fleeceflower. It is a groundcover that spreads nicely into a lovely mat of clean foliage with pink and white pipe cleaner flowers held upright over the leaves. The mat is thick and suppresses weeds.
|A lovely patch of clean green 'Dimity' foliage and little wands of pink flowers under a bush clover shrub.|
In most autumns it turns bright red, making a fantastic contrast with buff yellow amsonia foliage and strappy green grasses.
|Fall color. Some years it is rustier brown, some years redder.|
I adore the funny flowers, and they last all summer, then remain standing up in fall as they turn rust colored. 'Dimity' forms the lower level of the Blueberry Garden and I love it. Most of the time.
The problem is that if it is very dry in spring, the leaves never green up. Then this cute groundcover is just a brown desiccated mess. Not reduced, not skimpy, not waiting for wetter weather to burst forth; the whole mat simply stays brown and dry.
It's alive this spring, with green leaves around the edges of the garden where a little moisture collects. Isolated pops of green are emerging here and there.
|The bush clover in the center will fill out and get large in summer,|
but the groundcover fleeceflower won't green up this year.
But I know from past dry springs that it won't fill in. Rain too late in the season won't help. It's such a beautiful, fresh looking mat of green when it's happy, and it's so dry and dead looking when it's not.
So, I think I want to take it out. As much as I love this groundcover most years, I can't stand it in others when it looks so bad all season.
I can't just pull up the brown stuff and leave the pockets of green -- the plant spreads by rootlets and all the stems are hopelessly entwined. So it's getting ripped out in large tangled masses. I think I'll put in some nice leafy green alchemillas, Lady's mantle, instead. They will make a mounding groundcover and be more reliably leafy and green.
So it seems this spring I am destined to spend pulling up Persicarias. Both the weedy seedlings --goodbye to those -- and the cute pipe cleaner Himalayan fleeceflower plants that I had loved so much.