I am forever warning people about planting vigorous self seeders, like mint or chamomile, directly in the garden. However, there are also vigorous spreaders—and have I got a vigorous spreader story for you! About four years ago, I bought a nice little sweet woodruff plant. I had seen it in another garden and loved the little white flowers that appear in spring.
Sweet woodruff is also a very popular plant in Europe. When I was in Germany last year, I discovered that it’s used to flavour all sorts of things, from candy to cordial. Here it is in bloom.
It’s very pretty, right? Well, this year, my seemingly innocuous little plant became a garden bully.
It happened slowly.
The first year my sweet woodruff overwintered, it had spread a little by spring, but I was comfortable with that because I want things to fill out in my garden. Last year, I had to tidy around the edges a bit. Fast forward to this past spring when all of a sudden, I had to pluck sweet woodruff out of my dianthus, keep it from encroaching on a miniature lilac and rescue my delosperma Fire Spinner.
I have a lot to do in my garden, so I had to “press pause” on pulling sweet woodruff shoots and walk away at some point to tend to other things. However, once those pretty white blooms died back and my delosperma started to bloom, I realized I needed to get back to it, stat. This “sweet” woodruff had smothered part of a very drought-tolerant, hardy plant.
I still like sweet woodruff, but I do caution any gardener to consider it’s placement in a garden. Do you have any similar plant warnings?