Saturday, November 13, 2010

Italian Lords and Ladies

...



When we first looked at our little house, the Italian Lords and Ladies (arum italicum) in the back yard were putting on a lovely show. They were planted under the (dying) mulberry tree, where they looked very pretty.

I'm now beginning to think that these plants are Serious Garden Thugs.




Every single time I stick a shovel in the ground, I unearth arum bulbs. Hundreds and hundreds of arum bulbs.

From what I've read, this European native is considered a pretty serious pest in most of North America. They spread like crazy, and may cause contact dermatitis.

I'm really not sure what to do with the bulbs. Should I keep them, because they really are quite attractive and the shadier areas of my garden are so barren, or should I toss them into the "green bin" and send them off to be composted? Would it be horribly irresponsible to mail them to fellow gardeners?

I'm torn.

And I may as well warn blog readers that I'll probably post an almost-identical essay about my Calla Lilies, in the not-so-distant future.




11 comments:

lkw said...

Oh, goodness, I didn't realize they were serious thugs.

I've been concerned about them here in the Piedmont of South Carolina, though, so I can imagine how they'd spread in more benign places. Yikes.

I think I'd try to get rid of them if I could.

Best,
Lisa

Kim said...

Would they grow in a pot? I'd take some off your hands...PS I'll be blogging about my poor, poor patio garden soon. I may need some advice.

Sarcasmo said...

They cause contact dermatitis? Hmm, have you tried this on your own skin? Am wondering if there's a tie-in to your sudden onset of allergies to so many foods you eat...you wrote about the tomatoes. Hmm. Curious.
Diana AQ

. . . Lisa and Robb . . . said...

Kim -- I think these plants would do fine in pots, but they do need Deep Shade.

Jeanne said...

Not sure what I'd do about the arum, but would be very concerned about the calla lilies being potential cat poison. Our cats chew on any green thing within reach, so just the words "calla lily" are scary...
Good luck with the thugs. Don't let them bully you!

. . . Lisa and Robb . . . said...

Calla Lilies grow like weeds around here, an I've never heard about a cat being poisoned by them. I imagine that they probably taste horrible, so after one curious chomp, the cats leave 'em alone.

Bonnie Story said...

Wow!! I would jump for joy at some arum bulbs!! I am taking their thuggery into consideration nad I really liked your post. Would you shoot me an email to storyboard (dot) pro (at) gmail (dot) com and I will joyfully send my address. I really like your blog, I am glad that it is letting the world meet you, in addition to letting folks know about Robb's recovery. Best of luck to you both, and thank you so much for the generous bulb offer!! Hope to talk to you soon, Bonnie

Anonymous said...

you know there is someone somewhere who is longimg for these type of plants in their garden- so why dont you dig them up and post them for free on craigslist? Also can give them away to a local school that has a garden- they love donations!

Annalisa

Anonymous said...

We have these growing around a willow tree in our Oregon yard, but they have not spread at all, maybe because they're surrounded by lawn. I always thought they were Jack in the Pulpets.

JoAnn

Meredith said...

Was that a birthday notice worked in there at the end?? Hope you had a happy one, in spite of sucky conditions, if so.

I'd try to get rid of them -- but not by putting intact bulbs in the compost pile. In my experience, unwelcome things thrive even better in the compost. There has to be a way to destroy them, I'm thinking. I'm feeling this way about the monkey grass someone planted long ago on this rental property where we live, and wishing that two years ago I'd undertaken a major eradication campaign. Of course, I didn't expect to still be here two years later...

It's not because they're not lovely, you understand, but because certain exotic invasives are really destructive to the home garden endeavor.

Christine said...

The lords and ladies have choked out the commoners! While Annalisa's idea is a generous one, spreading invasive plants can be a curse upon gardeners, but also the wild landscape around us. Best to put them in the green bin- the city's compost system will wipe them clean out. (Don't mean to lecture, but I'm geekily passionate about the spread of invasives). Good luck in your feudal war against them!

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