This month, in honor of GOOPS or Gardening Oops, I have a major gardening faux-pas to own up to. Yes, we all make mistakes and hopefully can learn from the shared knowledge of what works and what doesn’t in other bloggers gardens – that is the impetus behind GOOPs started by Joene Hendry. But this month, my GOOPs is a doozy. In my defense, it all started with the leaves.
Weeks ago, I noticed the leaves on this little shrubby-viney plant growing in one of my mixed beds. My first thought was that the leaves were pretty unusual and made an interesting contrast to the other nearby foliage. Then I realized I had no recollection of ever planting it. That should have been my first red flag, but it wasn’t.
The mystery plant was near a Hygrangea paniculata I’d planted a few years ago that the deer seemed to love to nibble, so much so that I had never seen the hydrangea flower. So this spring I decided I would spray the hydrangea every few weeks with deer repellant in an attempt to actually see what the flowers looked like this year. And, you guess it, I figured I’d also ‘protect’ my mystery plant with the unusual leaves too. So that also got a bi-monthly dose of deer repellant.
The deer repellant was successful and both the hydrangea and my mystery plant flowered. As soon as I saw the purple and yellow flowers of the mystery plant I knew I’d been protecting some kind of wildflower but I still didn’t know which one.
So I went to the Connecticut Botanical Society’s website and searched for plants with purple flowers. That’s when I realized my GOOPs. I’d been protecting Solanum dulcamara (bittersweet nightshade). I knew it was on the state’s Invasive Plant list. OK, bittersweet nightshade is listed as potentially invasive but still it was not a plant I wanted growing in my garden.
So now I had to figure out the best way to fix my GOOPs. As far as I can tell, this is the only bittersweet nightshade growing in my garden so controlling this noxious weed should be relatively easy. I wanted to make sure that when I removed it I didn’t inadvertently create more off-shoots as often happens when simply pulling invasives out. I dug up and pulled out the plant and then marked the area it had been growing in. I’ll remain watchful to make sure no new growth appears. If it does, I’ll probably use a more toxic measure and cut the plant back and then paint it with some BurnOut.
I’ll chock up this GOOPs to experience and will now know those unusual leaves signal trouble. I’ll still let unknown seedlings grow in my garden but I’ll make sure I keep an eye on them — just in case.
Have you made any GOOPs in your garden? If you’d like to read about more gardening Oops head over to joene’sgarden and check out her post this month. Don’t forget to check out the comments when you’re there for links to other posts too.