Garden Thugs and Fungi Wars

Among the many ‘why would anyone plant this’ discoveries in the Temporary Garden were three that I was especially dismayed to see. I do realize that all of them might appeal to those who favor prodigiously-self-replicating, low-maintenance plants that remain unfazed by the vicissitudes of nature, but let’s face it: These three are thugs.


orange daylily 1orange daylily 2First in the perp lineup is the “multi” form of the common tawny daylily, Hemerocallis fulva a/k/a ditch lily. It’s either Kwanso or Flore Pleno but by either name this plant gives new meaning to the phrase “vigorous grower”. They are in almost every planting bed in the backyard. Many of the flowers look far less than healthy, and you all know how much I simply love the color orange… not! When there are a gigazillion daylily hybrids to choose from, why in the world would anyone limit themselves to only this one?

To be fair, I did discover ONE other daylily in the entire half-acre. It’s dark red with a yellow throat and resembles ‘Hyperion.’ Shaking in its roots beneath its one small fan, the poor thing stares apprehensively at the thundering horde of tawnies nearby, clearly afraid to utter more than a single-stem floral “peep” for fear of attracting their unwanted attention.



tiger lilyYes, that’s a tiger lily…. merrily carrying a hidden load of lily mosaic virus, no doubt. They have infested all areas of the property, thanks to the googolplex of bulblets produced all along even the youngest, tiniest stem. Maybe the former owners planted these because Lilium tigrinum is poisonous to rabbits and thus would not be nibbled by them. But is that worth having to banish all other lilies from the vicinity? Not in my book. In my mind, that’s an even worse failing than being orange!



Houttonyia cordata ChameleonAnd lastly we have Houttonyia cordata ‘Chameleon’ … a con artist of a plant if ever there was one. Unwary victims are taken in by the colorful foliage, not realizing that (a) the plant gives off an unpleasant smell when bruised and (b) it will try to take over every square foot of available ground but will also allow every weed known to mankind to come right up through it. It sneers at RoundUp, by the way. The ONLY thing that I found to actually kill it is a mixture of 6 oz of concentrated Bayer Brush & Poison Ivy Killer + 2 oz of Spectracide Weed and Grass killer concentrate PER GALLON of water.  The over the counter ready to use concentrations of either will only make this plant sneeze briefly as it marches onward like Genghis Khan on its way to world domination. Go for the big guns.


Fungi Wars: The Gardener Strikes Back

Remember the alien scout that popped up in the spring? I’ve kept a wary eye on that area and all seemed quiet on the fungi front until about two weeks ago, when I noticed a strange disturbance in the Force, err, Mulch on the opposite side of the Killer Viburnum…. as if something was preparing to emerge from beneath.



fungi troopersWithin a couple of days the Fungitroopers appeared. The largest one (in the lower right corner) was clearly Darth Fungi.



Darth FungiOf course I knew better than to give him a chance to explode into the sort of Death Spore Stars that I discovered last autumn, and so I brandished my lightsaber (cleverly disguised as a plastic bag) and swooped down in righteous revenge for this audacious invasion – plucking him up before he could launch his miniscule airborne minions.

What surprised me was that – far from being the somewhat mushy mushroom I’d been expecting – it felt more like a rock. Through the safety of the plastic I carefully poked, tapped and prodded… but was met with seemingly armor-plated resistance. Not even the smallest dent was possible. For a moment I toyed with the idea of whacking it with a hammer (all in the name of scientific curiosity) but decided against it because with my luck the bag would break and I am allergic to mold. Better safe than sorry.

The attendant Fungitroopers were likewise despatched and the entire evil cohort put into a second plastic bag for disposal. But I was still puzzled about the location of their base of operations because one would think that all fungi require moisture….but that area is probably one of the driest. It’s adjacent to the house wall and is also sheltered by both the front porch and the Killer Viburnum; we’ve had very little rain this summer, and I don’t water. Rain only hits that area if it’s wind-driven from the north or northeast. The mulch was freshly laid this spring, as related here. All in all, it doesn’t seem like a very hospitable environment for any self-respecting fungus but there they undeniably were. I shall be keeping a sharp eye out for the appearance of any clones!

  4 comments for “Garden Thugs and Fungi Wars

  1. September 15, 2015 at 10:32 am

    I love it! I must admit to a little hyperventilation when I saw the evil Houttonyia, I am at war with it myself. Definitely on the dark side 🙂

    • September 15, 2015 at 10:37 am

      My sympathies. 😦 Did you inherit it from a former owner, or is it expanding its’ evil empire from a neighbor’s property?

      • September 15, 2015 at 2:51 pm

        It is somewhere that I work and they made a conscience decision to buy it and plant it!

  2. September 15, 2015 at 5:24 pm

    I’ve been at war with the Houttonyia myself, so you have my sympathies…although the smell is almost reminiscent of lemon-grass, it is a straggly, spreading beast.
    Daylilies are one of those purchases that you need to be sure of…they are really difficult to dig out!

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