Ground Hogs I Have Known
Guest blogger Joannah Hill on garden thugs:
Mistakes were made.
Some through sheer ignorance; others were serendipitous acts of calamity. The innocent-looking seed that sprouted like Jack’s beanstalk. The nice, little “compact-grower” that turned out to come from The Little Shop of Horrors. We’ve all experienced the plant that grew and grew and grew.
I first encountered one of these ground hogs when I was trying to find something -- anything -- that would grow in a blighted patch of ground tucked next to my back steps. I tried coneflower, heliopsis and rudbekia. No luck.
At a plant fair I found a small nicotiana, flowering tobacco. The plant label recommended placement in a “partially shady nook,” well-drained soil and praised its sweetly scented flowers. I took it home and planted it. It thrived. It sent out fragrant flower stalks. And it continued to thrive. I had to move the massive leaves out of the way when I walked down the steps. I had to duck to avoid the looming flowers. I was relieved when it died with the first cold snap.