The in­vaders stalk­ing your beds

Belfast Telegraph - Weekend - - GARDENING AND PETS - Han­nah Stephen­son warns of the dan­gers of some com­mon plants

When we think of in­va­sive plants, alarm bells might ring at the men­tion of Ja­panese knotweed or gi­ant hog­weed, but can the same be said about bud­dleia, bam­boo or mont­bre­tia?

Yet these — and other — com­mon plants will be com­ing un­der the spot­light at this year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show (May 22-26), in a gar­den of in­va­sive plants, cre­ated to high­light non-na­tive species that ‘es­cape’ from gar­dens up and down the UK and the dam­age they can do once let loose.

These in­clude mont­bre­tia, false Vir­ginia creeper, Ja­panese rose, three-cornered gar­lic, bud­dleia and co­toneaster. BAM­BOO There’s been a lot of bam­boo planted over the years, thanks to its pop­u­lar­ity in gar­den­ing makeover shows, says Hodg­son. If they are left unchecked they can be just as dam­ag­ing as any­thing else. BUD­DLEIA “We have a mas­sive prob­lem with the but­ter­fly bush,” he says. “It’s a real night­mare. Anec­do­tally, it causes more struc­tural dam­age to build­ings than any­thing else.” Plant a bud­dleia (in­set) near to your home at your peril. If you see any seedlings which have taken next to the house, pull them out, he ad­vises. MONT­BRE­TIA “Leav­ing it alone it will spread like wild­fire. In most do­mes­tic gar­dens it will out-com­pete the other plants in the flowerbed and when you get it into a wild en­vi­ron­ment, it does ex­actly the same thing.” You can dig the corms of mont­bre­tia up to keep it in check but don’t put it on your com­post heap. One so­lu­tion is to burn the corms, he says. AQUATIC PLANTS Pen­ny­wort and wa­ter fern are prob­lem­atic, he adds. Re­ports of the in­va­sive plant float­ing pen­ny­wort in rivers and lakes have reached a record high, of­fi­cials are warn­ing. JA­PANESE KNOTWEED This is a mas­sive prob­lem, be­cause if you dis­turb it and then leave frag­ments un­der new struc­tures, it will grow back through an ex­ten­sion or a pa­tio or into a con­ser­va­tory. The RHS ad­vises us­ing pro­fes­sional firms to erad­i­cate knotweed, warn­ing that DIY at­tempts may not be suc­cess­ful. For more in­for­ma­tion on the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, go to rhs.org.uk

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