I am, a total garden geek, which means, of course, that I’m an out-of-control plant person. I’ll buy a plant almost anywhere, in person, on the phone with catalog in hand, or online. So perhaps you’ll understand that when I heard a collector of snowdrops (Galanthus) speak recently it kicked in a serious case of Plant Lust. I had to have them, asap.
Although I went immediately to my friends’ website at Brent and Becky’s Bulbs and ordered some, they won’t arrive until next fall. This wasn’t good enough because I wanted them now. You can imagine, then, how pleased I was to see a listing on the local Craigslist by someone who had snowdrops for sale. I called and went over the same day, buying five large clumps of bulbs for two dollars a bunch. As I planted them I saw a couple of odd shoots of another plant in and among the bulb foliage, and I told myself that this was something I should keep an eye on.
Four weeks later, in May, I went down to the place where I’d put the clumps of snowdrops and to my horror I saw Aegopodium podagraria, aka goutweed or bishop’s weed, sprouting in with the bulbs. This is one of the worst invasive weeds I’ve ever dealt with. I battled it for years at my gardens in Columbia County, NY and have lived in terror of having it appear again. This spreading perennial arrived in my New York state gardens when I accepted a pass-along day lily from a friend’s garden. I was never able to get rid of the bishop’s weed and was pleased when the commonwealth of Massachusetts declared it illegal to sell this perennial in this state.
I dug up all the snowdrops and put them in the garbage. Even though I also threw out lots of soil from each of these areas, I will need to be vigilant about watching the areas where I planted these bulbs for any small bishop’s weed that sprouts from seeds in the future.
This is the problem with getting plants on Craigslist, at a plant sale, or from a neighbor or friend: they often come with pass-along problems. Beware.