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Give plants an inch, they'll take a yard
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I have been working in the yard for the last week or two. All I want to do is get the weeds out of my flower beds.

I have scratches all up my arms and little blue spots everywhere. My ankles are scratched. (Don’t ask me how I managed that.) I have no fingernails. I have a Band-Aid on my elbow.

All of this for flower beds that my neighbors will not sneer at, and I am not even finished.

I have found four patches of poison ivy. I am very allergic to it, so I give it a wide berth and call my husband to come with the brush killer. I am happy to report that as of now, I am not scratching.

Liriope (monkey grass, mondo grass or lillyturf) is overtaking my flower beds. Give it an inch and it takes a circle about a foot in diameter.

It sends out shoots, I have discovered the hard way, and creates other circles of various sizes. It grows in the middle of what passes for grass in my yard.

When I dig it up, which is not easy, my husband says save it, and we can plant it somewhere.

I don’t want it anywhere else. I am tired of it. That’s why I am digging it up. I looked it up on the Internet to be sure that I was spelling it correctly and found a nursery that was selling the stuff for $9.99 a pot and was sold out. Sold out! Who buys the stuff?

Don’t buy it, I say, unless you want your whole yard to be covered with green spiky leaves.

I also have dug out a lot of ivy. My husband’s ancestors planted a lot of liriope and ivy.

The ivy has completely taken over the bank in front of my house and smothered the daylilies that used to be there. If I don’t trim it, it will take over the sidewalk.

That ivy will climb the side of my house if I don’t cut it back. It grows through the fence from the house next door.

It will climb trees and kill them. It also sells for $9.99 for a 4-inch pot. Good grief, what are people thinking?

Talk about your invasive plants. With ivy, liriope and wisteria, no wonder my yard is overgrown.

There is also this tree in the back of my yard where I have a bed of azaleas and hydrangeas. The tree broadcasts little white berries.

Those berries fall into the dirt and sprout. I pull up all the sprouts and think there, good for me, and then go back two days later and the bed is full of those sprouts again.

You pull them up and the little seed or berry is at the end of the tiny stem. I don’t know what kind of tree that is, but I put it on my list of invasive plants.

I also have pulled out a good bit of honeysuckle. It grows up in an old white azalea.

It’s tricky and hides in the bush and is not very noticeable until it flowers. But I got it this year.

I still have about three more beds to tackle. I want to get it done before it gets too hot.

I came to gardening late in life, and I do not think I have a green thumb. I just have delusions of glory when I see plants in other people’s yards and think I can duplicate their successes.

I would love a green expanse of immaculately kept grass, and beds luxurious with flowers of every kind, blooming profusely. I plant daffodil bulbs and get no flowers, just lots of greenery. (I don’t have many flower beds that receive a lot of sun, but I dream of success.)

I have about decided gardening is a lot like house cleaning. I will doggedly finish those last few beds and retire my gardening hat for cooler weather.

When I get back out there to assess what has happened over the summer, it will look like I did nothing this spring.

I think if I had a genie grant me a wish, it would be this: I would like for something I do, like cleaning a room or weeding a bed of flowers, to stay done.



Paula Travis is a retired teacher from the Newton County School System. She can be reached at