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We lose this flower bed every mid-Summer. I weed whack the remains and it comes back. Do you have any ideas to keep it from dying each year? Ed

Answer

The plant in the photo is Bishops Weed (Aegopodium podagraria 'Variegatum'). This plant prefers and thrives in shade to part-shade sites. THIS IS AN EXTREMELY INVASIVE PLANT. BE CAREFUL. I'm guessing it dies off in your garden because it is getting too much sun and the soil dries out. DO NOT TRANSPLANT IT TO THE SHADE. YOU WILL BE SORRY.

Bishop's Weed goes by several other names: Goutweed, Ground Elder, Herb Gerard, and Snow-in-the-Mountain and once planted is virtually unstoppable. It is considered an invasive plant in Connecticut and a number of other states because it will crowd out native species. Bishop's Weed grows easily and spreads rapidly by fine, white underground rhizomes (roots), that if not completely removed will quickly regrow the plant. If you are going to keep it, the only sensible thing to do is to keep it containerized. In Ed's garden pictured above, he actually has it "containerized" into a confined space.

Disposal is another problem. It is safe to put it in trash bags that you know will be incinerated, but don't take it to your town dump and don't give to your friends to try in their gardens! One way to remove Bishop's Weed is to cover it in black plastic in the spring after it starts to grow and leave the plastic in place all summer.

Bishop's Weed has been around for centuries, and dates back well before the Romans who used it as a food source. Over the years, it had been also used as a medicinal herb, although that use has diminished in modern times.

In short, Bishop's Weed is a TRUE GARDEN THUG; avoid it at all costs!

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About Linda Lillie

Linda K. Lillie is the President of Sprigs & Twigs, Inc, the premier landscape design and maintenance, tree care, lawn care, stonework, and carpentry service provider in southeastern Connecticut since 1997. She is a graduate of Connecticut College in Botany, a Connecticut Master Gardener and a national award winning landscape designer for her landscape design and landscape installation work.

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