When Good Plants Go Rogue, Part I

One of the good parts of my new (old) house is the flora. It is a good thing I like plants because I have a lot of them. There are flowers and shrubs and trees and more flowers and, well, et cetera. If you want any plants, let me know. I have lots I can share with you.

Last year, the house was rented to an interesting women who professed to love gardening except that she didn’t actually do any gardening. Hence, for the past year (and maybe more), the flora have had free rein to test their boundaries.

I like a less formal look, but I can’t find the boundaries of most of the beds and some of the shrubs have run amok. I’m slowly beating back the beasts.

One shrub (or bush? Is there a difference between a shrub and a bush?) had taken over a corner of my deck as well as the entire garden bed. I thought, “no problem, I’ll just give a little trim at the base of the shrub and all will be clear again.”

overgrown shrub1         overgrown shrub2

It turned out that this shrub has an evil method of propagation through its root system. Basically, it sends out surface roots that shoot up more branches instead of sending out suckers from the trunk or branches. In order to get rid of everything that was overgrown, I had to dig up surface roots all the way back to the trunk.

It was worth it though. I reclaimed the corner of my deck and the garden bed. Now I have to transplant some plants underneath the shrub since it is completely bare underneath.

trimmed shrub

I found a photo from when my parents and I viewed the house during our house buying adventure (that’ll be a post for the About page someday). Those thin sticks shooting straight up flower mid summer.

flowering shrub

Maybe the shrub isn’t meant to look like an umbrella, but too late now! I have no idea what it is–if you know, please leave a comment. My flora knowledge is a bit (a lot) lacking. This is a learn as you go operation.


6 thoughts on “When Good Plants Go Rogue, Part I

    1. Well sure thing, which means I just hacked the poor thing to pieces. Oops.

      It also means it is planted in the wrong place as there just isn’t room for it. Hmm, that means I shouldn’t transplant anything underneath. I wonder if it will come back to its mounded shape?

      Learn as I go.

      Thanks for the information!


    2. I’ve been worrying that I ruined my shrub. But then I found this today on pruning it:

      “This shrub looks best in its natural shape, though it is often pruned into a tree form with an umbrella shaped top.”

      So, maybe not it’s best look, but an okay look?


  1. Jen

    Form follows function! Whatever works for what you need. Your mom was right on– Aesculus parviflora (Bottlebrush Buckeye)! It will keep trying to grow back to original shape (8-12′ ht x 8-15′ sprd). It was planted a wee bit too close to the deck. Hope you’re well! Nice blog! 🙂


    1. Thanks Jen (and way to go Mom!). What do you suggest in terms of shape? The trunk is only about a foot away from the corner of the deck. In general, I’m not fond of overly pruned things, but I also want to have access to my deck. I also have a walkway about three feet from the trunk in another direction.


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