The eight plants that are described below are all attractive to a greater or lesser extent, but they are in part unpopular because they are too easy to grow. For instance Ivy, which is one of the eight, is very useful for covering a bank or wall, but can all too easily get out of hand. Another on the list is Lady?s mantle, Alchemilla mollis which I have always liked, but because it self seeds so prolifically you will forever be uprooting new plants. Andy McIndoe from the Learning With Experts website complied this list.
It is interesting that gardeners seem to hate plants that succeed too easily. Even if they are good, reliable ornamentals, the fact that they thrive in spite of us is seen as a drawback. We also think we should dislike plants that are considered old-fashioned. The pampas grass may be a child of the ?70s but it certainly has a long season of interest! We love the idea of groundcover plants that smother bare soil and overcome the need to weed, but we hate anything that seeds and spreads. What we most desire is what we really shouldn?t grow: things like meconopsis and gentians, or rhododendrons when we garden on shallow chalk.
Lady?s mantle, Alchemilla mollis is a great example of an excellent garden plant that gardeners complain about. Sure, it seeds and spreads. Mainly because we let it. If we cut it back as soon as the flowers start to fade it can be kept in check, but we forget and consequently seedlings emerge anywhere they can avoid disturbance. Planted under the hedge or under mature shrubs or trees alchemilla can survive where lesser plants wither and perish. Make the most of it.
The looks of the fleabane, Erigeron karvinskianus belie its tough resilience. With similar habits to alchemilla it is altogether lighter and more delicate in habit. The tiny pink and white delicate flowers cannot fail to charm, as much as we complain about its invasive tendencies. In a previous post I recommended this as plant that survives dry shade. I stand by that from experience, despite the fact it is usually grown in sunny, dry conditions.
Top of the garden enemies has to be ivy. Seen as a thug that strangles trees its qualities are overlooked. Shade tolerant, evergreen, versatile either as self-clinging climber or the perfect groundcover it has a lot to offer. Not least of all a valuable source of nectar and pollen and berries as food for birds. The large-leaved hederas are particularly good as ground cover under trees. Their leaves are reflective and lighten shade. Some complain that it can take over; my advice is don?t let it, control it.
See the other five problem plants at Learning With Experts