Throw Thuggish Plants in Detention

Container gardening essentials.


| June/July 2005


Recently, as I was house-shopping in Austin, Texas, I visited one listed home that advertised “a bamboo grove,” which intrigued me because, despite its unsavory reputation, I’ve always wanted to grow bamboo. Arriving at the home, I was horrified to see a forest of bamboo that had taken over half of the large back yard and half of the neighbor’s back yard as well. Suddenly I understood why the house seemed underpriced. To view the results of such out-of-control botanical aggression was humbling.

And it reminded me why I’m so fond of container gardening. I bought a different house, and had a friend build me a large, simple wooden trough to sit alongside the patio. I purchased a bamboo plant, planted it in the trough, then stood over it, shaking my finger and saying sternly, “This is all the space you get. Now behave yourself.”

Alongside the trough, I set a lawn chair, a Japanese lantern and pots of ginger and jade, and I think of it as my little Oriental garden. I’m looking forward to the day the bamboo grows up and creates a mini-grove that will shade me and rustle in the wind as I lounge in my chair. I even imagine myself creating my own chopsticks, garden stakes and bamboo placemats. But when the bamboo fills the trough — and it will — I shall be ruthless.

Using containers is a good way to discipline unruly herbs, those invasive plants you don’t dare let loose in your yard. Garden writers call these “thugs,” and it fits. Once comfortably situated in the ground, they can be extremely difficult, even impossible, to get rid of.

When a thug entices you with its beauty, usefulness or sheer bravado, try it in a container instead of fighting or banishing it. Like any worthwhile detention, containers set clear boundaries. A bamboo plant wouldn’t consider a container its ideal location, but it’s OK that you and the plant have different ideas.

Protect the Neighborhood

Other plants in the herbal world require caution on the part of the gardener introducing them into a tidy garden, lest they conquer the gardener’s space and head off for the rest of the neighborhood. These are prime candidates for a life sentence in detention.





mother earth news fair 2018 schedule

MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR

Next: April 28-29, 2018
Asheville, NC

Sit in on dozens of practical workshops from the leading authorities on natural health, organic gardening, real food and more!

LEARN MORE



Subscribe today and save 58%

Subscribe to Mother Earth Living !

Mother Earth LivingWelcome to Mother Earth Living, the authority on green lifestyle and design. Each issue of Mother Earth Living features advice to create naturally healthy and nontoxic homes for yourself and your loved ones. With Mother Earth Living by your side, you’ll discover all the best and latest information you want on choosing natural remedies and practicing preventive medicine; cooking with a nutritious and whole-food focus; creating a nontoxic home; and gardening for food, wellness and enjoyment. Subscribe to Mother Earth Living today to get inspired on the art of living wisely and living well.

Save Money & a Few Trees!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. You’ll save an additional $5 and get six issues of Mother Earth Living for just $14.95! (Offer valid only in the U.S.)

Or, choose Bill Me and pay just $19.95.




Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter


Copyright 2018, All Rights Reserved
Ogden Publications, Inc., 1503 SW 42nd St., Topeka, Kansas 66609-1265