Ground elder

Characterised by apple-green, lobed leaves and flat heads of cream-white flowers in summer, ground elder spreads rapidly. What makes it even more difficult to eradicate is it can creep between cultivated plants. It creates large clumps of foliage that obscure and smother smaller plants. Ground elder dies down below ground in winter, which means it’s difficult to spot when cultivating the soil. However, it’s capable of re-growing from only small fragments of root, making it a particularly virulent plant.

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Symptoms

This vigorous, spreading perennial is rampant, growing over cultivated plants and making them compete for light, water and nutrients.

Find it on

established flowerbeds, freshly dug soil, cracks in paving, lawns

Organic

In existing flowerbeds, it’s best tackled by digging up the cultivated plants and washing their roots to tease out the cream-white roots of ground elder. Regular cutting of the foliage, just below ground level with a hoe will gradually weaken the plant, but this needs to be done every 7-10 days, as soon as regrowth appears. Alternatively, fork through the soil every 10 to 14 days, removing every piece of ground elder root that’s found.

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Chemical

Apply systemic weedkiller to the foliage as soon as it appears in spring. Re-apply throughout the growing season at four- to six-week intervals, or as soon as any re-growth appears.

Bishop’s weed is a bummer! It is one of those plants that just will not go away. Once it has taken root, it more or less smothers everything in its path.

It crawls across the ground in moist, partly shaded areas. It creates a dense groundcover that prevents other plants from developing. It spreads above ground with seeds and underground via runners. If you have bishop’s weed, it is very likely that you will always have bishop’s weed, whether you like it or not.

Bishop’s weed is also known as goutweed (Aegopodium podagraria). It was introduced to the U.S. as an ornamental plant from Europe and Asia. By the 1860’s, bishop’s weed was recognized as an invasive plant in Rhode Island as its ability to grow, spread, and smother was nearly unstoppable. Its damage to native vegetation and to the wildlife dependent on those native varieties is immeasurable. That makes bishop’s weed a most unwanted plant.

Today, bishop’s weed continues to hold a spot on invasive plants lists in Rhode Island as well as in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Vermont, and Wisconsin. It is a noxious weed in many additional states.

Identifying Bishops Weed

Bishop’s weed resembles Queen Anne’s Lace. It has dainty white flowers that reach out from attractive solid or variegated leaves. It grows as tall as 3 feet, and it spreads rampantly. Check out the video and resources below for images to identify bishop’s weed.

Eliminating Bishops Weed

Bishop’s weed truly is tough to get rid of. If you already have some in your garden, you are probably aware of just how aggressive and tenacious it is. It grows through underground rhizomes. When broken or cut apart, the pieces of rhizome will develop into new plants. Complete removal of the rhizomes is necessary. Although it’s difficult to remove the entire rhizome, it is possible.

Work in a contained area. For example, start with a 2 foot by 2 foot square. Cut the entire bishop’s weed in the area down to the ground. Dig up the soil, the plant material, and the roots and rhizomes. Carefully sift out all of the rhizomes and roots, and throw them away. Replace the soil in the area, and begin the next section. You will need to work quickly between sections so the clean areas aren’t recontaminated with new runners.

Another method for controlling bishop’s weed is called solarization. Mow an area of bishop’s weed down to less than an inch tall. Layer several tarps over the mown section. Secure the tarps to the ground with rocks. As the sun heats up the area, a larger amount of heat will become trapped under the tarps and eventually burn and suffocate the plants and the rhizomes. The tarps may need to be left covering the ground for 1 to 2 weeks.

The most effective way to remove bishop’s weed, although not one hundred percent successful, is to use an herbicide. A basic broadleaf lawn weed spray will work the best. Several applications may be necessary. But remember, when using an herbicide, there is risk to other plants in the area, so weigh the use of chemical treatments carefully.

Alternatives to Bishops Weed

While bishop’s weed continues to be available to purchase in stores, it is a plant that is an inappropriate choice for a careful gardener who knows of its destructive capabilities. There are several plants that make great alternatives to bishop’s weed.

A nice native alternative to the invasive bishop’s weed in the Northeast is Golden Alexanders (Zizia aurea). Golden Alexanders bloom in the spring with clusters of yellow flowers. They attract butterflies and bees for a happy, humming garden.

Canada anemone is another alternative to bishop’s weed. It is native to most of the U.S. It is an aggressive grower that is ideal for sunny areas that have succumbed to weeds. The Canada anemone has tenacious habit, so it is a good replacement for the non-native bishop’s weed.

Do your part in creating a healthy ecosystem by recognizing, avoiding and getting rid of invasive plants like bishop’s weed!

Want to learn more about getting rid of bishops weed?

Goutweed from Plant Conservation Alliance
Aegopodium podograria: Bishops’ weed, Gout weed, Ground Elder from NC Cooperative Extension

Persistence the key in killing goutweed

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Q The back half of our garden is infested with ground elder. I’ve tried Roundup but it didn’t work. I’ve cleared some by hand, but as some is mixed with plants I want to keep, it keeps returning. Can I smother it with vinca, or another spreading plant?

Vicki Gibbon, Surrey

A Ground elder, introduced by the Romans as a vegetable, is difficult to get rid of because it regrows from the smallest trace of root. You can take a defined area, dig everything up and remove every scrap of root. This involves washing the roots of any plants you wish to retain before replanting them.

Edge this with a barrier submerged at least 18in deep. Or roughly rotovate the afflicted area, rake it and sow grass seed. Mowing the grass for a few years will weaken the ground elder. Or cover it with black plastic for a few years. As a last resort, you could plant woody shrubs into it and eat its leaves.

Q I have five glorious bamboos in pots. For three years they have thrown up strong new spikes, but this winter’s wind and dryness has done for one, and the other four are scruffy and brown. How can I restore them? Vivienne

A Bamboos can go from shining health to shabbiness in weeks. The problem is too much wind, too little water and tired compost. Give them a mulch of mushroom or garden compost. Otherwise, repot them. Soak them well and cut out any sad growth at the base, leaving just a few strong canes and any emerging culms. Then put them in a sheltered spot. Have faith: they will recover next year.

· If you have a gardening question for Monty, email [email protected]

Weedy Wednesday – Ground elder

This week’s plant in our Wednesday Weed series is ground elder. Invasive and hated – but surprisingly tasty!

In this weekly series, we take a quick look at common garden weeds. How they grow, what benefits they bring to the garden, and how to manage them. Organic growers recognise the importance of these native plants. Insects and birds need the flowers and seeds – and gardeners, cooks and herbalists can harvest some nutrient rich foliage.

We hope that this snap-shot view of bindweed, dandelion, nettle, bramble, thistle, goosegrass, plantain, fat hen, dock and yes, even ground elder, will help you to live with them. We also give advice on how to compost weeds. You may not love them, but you certainly won’t be tempted to reach for the toxic weed-killer.

For more detailed information on over 100 individual weeds, go to the superbly researched Weeds List, and here for how to manage them.

Ground Elder Aegopodium podagraria L.

What: This attractive plant with bright, upright green foliage and white flowers is a nightmare for gardeners. Like bindweed, it will rapidly reproduce and create a carpet of plants from rhizomes, which can grow up to 90 cm per year. It can invade from neighbouring gardens, or be transported in plant/soil swaps. The flowers bear a resemblance to those of the elder tree (which is completely unrelated) and the leaf stem has an interesting triangular profile.

Habit: Ground elder stems, except the flowering shoot, remain below ground and it is the leaf stalk not the stem that emerges above ground. Up to five rhizomes form at the base of each tuft of leaves. These have scale leaves at 4-5 cm intervals with a bud that develops into a branched root. (A quick word on the difference between roots and rhizomes. Roots are the plant’s anchor, they are fibrous and pull up moisture and nourishment from the soil. Rhizomes are underground stems, used by the plant to store energy. They generally grow horizontal, often just under the soil, sprouting roots and shooting up new vertical stems as they go.) The dormant buds of ground elder overwinter underground, on the creeping rhizome system. Flowers appear from May to July/August. The fresh seeds require a period of chilling before they will germinate.

Benefits: The tender, new leaves can be eaten as a spring leaf vegetable, much like spinach. It is best picked before it flowers in May to June, as mature leaves have a pungent taste and a laxative effect. Used as treatment for gout and arthritis in the Middle Ages.

Controls: Ground elder is a terrifyingly persistent weed. The soil should be repeatedly dug over and the rhizomes removed and burnt. Just one digging session will not eradicate all the roots and rhizomes. Where it invades a planted area it may be necessary to dig out the desirable plants and clean off their roots to remove rhizome fragments. The soil-free plants should be potted up and observed to ensure no ground elder has been missed. The cleared bed has to be cultivated repeatedly to deal with the ground elder before replanting.

For further information on this and other weeds, go to the Weeds List, and here for how to manage them.

Aegopodium podagraria L. Ground Elder,
This plant has the reputation as one of the worst of garden weeds. since it spreads in all directions extremely rapidly by means of its underground stems.

It is known by a variety of names amongst which ,Herb Gerard, Bishop’s weed, goutweed, and snow-in-the-mountain, and sometimes called English masterwort, and wild masterwort although other names, such as Farmers plague and jump about may be especially apt. Gound elder is a perennial plant in the carrot family (Apiacae) that grows to a height of 100 cms in shady places. The name “ground elder” comes from the superficial similarity of its leaves and flowers to those of elder (Sambucus), which is unrelated. This species is native to Eurasia, and has been introduced around the world as an ornamental plant, where it occasionally poses an ecological threat as an invasive plant.

Structure

Goutweed, also known as bishop’s-weed and snow-on-the-mountain, is a herbaceous perennial plant. It is one of several species of Aegopodium, native to Europe and Asia. Most leaves are basal, with the leafstalk attached to an underground stem, or rhizome. The leaves are divided into three groups of three leaflets, making it “triternate.” The leaflets are toothed and sometimes irregularly lobed. Foliage of the “wild” type is medium green in color; a commonly planted variegated form has bluish-green leaves with creamy white edges. Sometimes reversion back to solid green or a mixture of solid green and the lighter variegated pattern occurs within a patch. The stems are erect, hollow and grooved. When crushed the foliage emits a characteristic odour which is at once pungent and aromatic. The two halves of the fruit are five angled and unlike most Umbelliferae, there are no oil ducts in the wall, this can be observed when the ripe fruit is cut across. the seedling leaves appear as unexpanded blades bent down against the leaf stalk and it is only the stimulus of light which causes the bent upper part of the leaf stalk to straighten when it has pushed its way through the screening leaf litter and soil.

Small, white, five-petaled flowers are produced in mid-summer. Flowers are arranged in flat-topped clusters (called compound umbels) and are held above the ground on a leafy stem up to about 3 feet tall. The seeds are small and elongate, similar in size and shape to carrot seeds, and ripen in late summer. although flowering freely seedlings are not often found. the plant tends to spread from vegetative growth of the underground rhizomes. In contrast to the dense foliage cover produced by goutweed, flowering shoots are uncommon in densely shaded areas.

The rhizomes of goutweed are long, white, and branching, superficially resembling those of quackgrass (Elytrigia repens, also known as Agropyron repens). Patches of goutweed typically form a dense canopy and can exclude most other herbaceous vegetation.

Mabey relates that after digging up a herbaceous border removing all the rhizomes from the soil and from the roots of plants taken from the soil small shoots continued to emerge the following year.

“Here and there, near the edges of the bed, I found a few small leaflets unfolding. I carefully extricated the plants trying not to break the roots, to see what they had emerged from. Each seemed to have sprung from a small section of cut root thin enough to have been overlooked in the great cleansing. And the new shoots were growing not from nodes along the serpentine root fragments as in some species, but from a bulbous swelling at its tip.”

History

No evidence of the presence of ground elder has been found in prehistoric excavations although it appears in Roman deposits. the Romans valued it as a medicinal herb for treating gout and as a vegetable. Mabey suggests that the plant was introduced by the Romans like the plants Alexanders and fennel, two other species introduced by the Romans that naturalised rapidly. It soon became naturalised and began to pick up folk names. The names goutweed and Bishop’s weed are references to the properties of the plant in alleviating that aliment. Presumably Bishops were particularly prone to gout because of their high protein diet. Most peasants would not have had such a protein rich diet. it was certainly widely cultivated as a pot herb. The first published record for ground elder is from Lyte’s herbal of 1578. Jack-Jump-About appears as a name in the sixteenth century. It was described rather ominously by Gerard in his herbal at the end of the sixteenth century in desperate tones.

“where it hath once taken roote it will hardly be gotten out againe, spoiling and getting every yeere more ground, to the annoying of better herbes”

This encroachment of ground elder is well recorded and refers to the ability of the plant to grow up to 3 feet underground in a single season. Consequently, from one rosette an area of almost a square metre has been found colonised at the end of one year.

Invasive habit
Ground elder is an aggressive invasive plant that forms dense patches, displaces native species, and greatly reduces species diversity in the ground layer. Goutweed patches inhibit the establishment of conifers and other native tree species as well. Seed dispersal and seedling establishment is typically limited by shading, and new establishments from seed are restricted to disturbed areas. However, Aegopodium podagraria readily spreads over large areas of ground by underground rhizomes. The underground stems spread and branch below the surface usually at a depth of 1.5 to 2 inches. however Mabey reports that in a quarry in the 1990s a worker found roots of ground elder probing 30 feet below the surface. In the angle between each scale leaf and the rhizome that bears it, there is an axillary bud that has the potential to develop into a new branch rhizome. At the end of the rhizome a leafy shoot emerges from the basal leaves from which axillary buds can grow to form rhizomes.Once established, the plants are highly competitive, and can reduce the diversity of ground cover, preventing the establishment of tree and shrub seedlings. Because of its limited seed dispersal ability and seedling recruitment, the primary vector for dispersal to new areas are human plantings as an ornamental, medicinal or vegetable plant, as well as by accidentally spreading rhizomes by dumping of garden waste. It spreads rapidly under favorable growing conditions. Because of this it has been described as a nuisance species, and been labeled one of the “worst” garden weeds in perennial flower gardens.
A. podagraria has been introduced around the world, including in North America, Australia, New Zealand, and Japan, most commonly as an ornamental plant. It readily establishes and can become naturalized in boreal, moist-temperate, and moist-subtropical climates. It is an “aggressive” invader in the upper Great Lakes region and northeastern North America, Australia, Tasmania, and New Zealand Most colonies spread to neighboring natural areas from intentional plantings, or by the dumping of yard waste that includes discarded rhizomes. It can pose an ecological threat due to its invasive nature, with potential to crowd out native species. Because of its potential impacts on native communities and the difficulty of its control, it has been banned or restricted in some jurisdictions outside its native range, including in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Vermont in the USA.
Control

Rhizomes developing new shoots
Once established, goutweed is difficult to eradicate. The smallest piece of rhizome left in the ground will quickly form a sturdy new plant. All-green goutweed may be more persistent and spread more rapidly than ornamental, variegated goutweed varieties, making the all-green type particularly difficult to control. However, all-green, forms are known to reappear from seeds of variegated varieties. Systemic herbicides such as glyphosate (Roundup®) that are translocated to the roots and kill the entire plant are most effective for goutweed control. However, glyphosate is non-specific and can damage or kill desirable native plants that are accidentally sprayed in the course of treating the goutweed. Contact herbicides are usually ineffective because goutweed readily leafs out again after defoliation. Personally, even after treatment with glyphosate I have found the plants regrow. This weed is by general agreement one of the most difficult to eradicate, except by laborious hand weeding.
Manual
Small patches of goutweed can be eliminated by careful and persistent hand-pulling or digging up of entire plants along with underground stems (rhizomes). Pulled plants can be piled up and allowed to dry for a few days before bagging and disposing of them. Be careful to pick up all rhizomes which, if left can re-root and sprout new plants. For large patches, a team of volunteers or use of herbicide is recommended. the rhizomes penetrate not only the soil but the root system of any plants growing in that soil. therefore in order to eliminate the ground elder, it is necessary to separate any rhizomes from within the root systems of plants growing in the borders, a laborious and tiresome procedure. Any small pieces of rhizome that break off can regrow and any fragments of rhizome left in the root systems of other plats can regrow.
Mechanical
Where appropriate, frequent short mowing may control or slow the spread of goutweed in lawns, along roadsides, and other areas.
Physical
Preventing goutweed from photosynthesizing in early spring (at the time of leaf-out) can control the plant by depleting its carbohydrate reserves. This can be accomplished by covering the patch with black plastic sheeting when the leaves start to emerge from the ground in the spring, and leaving it in place through the summer. A more effective option is to cut all plants once they’ve fully leafed out, using a mower, scythe, or weed-whacker type machine, and then cover the area with plastic. Covering the plants in mid- or late summer, after they have regained substantial starch reserves, is probably much less effective.
Integrative management strategies that combine herbicide with landscape cloth, bark mulch, and hand weeding to control goutweed in a garden are largely unsuccessful because sprouting occurs from either rhizomes or root fragments left in the soil Hand pulling, raking, and digging followed by monitoring to control goutweed may be effective; however, caution must be taken to remove the entire rhizome and root system. Removing flowers before seed set may help control the spread of goutweed.] Because goutweed’s starch reserves are typically depleted by spring, removal of leaves in spring could be effective in starving the plant. Once goutweed has been removed, the patch should be carefully monitored periodically for a few years. New shoots should be dug up and destroyed. Revegetation with other plant materials is recommended.
The most effective means of control is to prevent its establishment in natural communities. It is thus recommended to plant goutweed only on sites not adjacent to wildlands and in gardens where root spread can be restricted.
Ornamental use
A variegated form is grown as an ornamental plant though with the advice to keep it isolated.
Importance to wildlife
It is used as a food plant by the larvae of some species of Lepidoptera, including dot moth, grey dagger and grey pug, although A. podagraria is not the exclusive host to any of these species.
Dot Moth

Grey Dagger

Grey Pug

Stem profile – no toxic look-alike has a triangular profile.
Uses as food and medicine
The plant is said to have been introduced into England by the Romans as a food plant. The tender leaves have been used in antiquity and throughout the Middle Ages as a spring vegetable, similar to spinach. It was called Bishopsweed and Bishopswort, because so frequently found near old ecclesiastical ruins. It is said to have been introduced by the monks of the Middle Ages, who cultivated it as a herb of healing. It was called Herb Gerard, because it was dedicated to St. Gerard, who was formerly invoked to cure the gout, against which the herb was chiefly employed. Descriptions of its use are found among monastic writings, such as in Physica by Hildegard von Bingen. Gerard tells us that:
‘with his roots stamped and laid upon members that are troubled or vexed with gout, swageth the paine, and taketh away the swelling and inflammation thereof, which occasioned the Germans to give it the name of Podagraria, because of his virtues in curing the gout.’

Young leaves are preferred as a pot herb. It is best picked from when it appears (as early as February in the UK) to just before it flowers (May to June). If it is picked after this point, it takes on a pungent taste and has a laxative effect. However, it can be stopped from flowering by pinching out the flowers, ensuring the plant remains edible if used more sparingly as a pot herb.
It also had a history as a medicinal herb to treat gout and atthritis] applied in hot wraps externally upon boiling both leaves and roots together. The generic name is a corruption of the Greek aix, aigos (a goat) and pous, podos (a foot), from some fancied resemblance in the shape of the leaves to the foot of a goat. The specific name is derived from the Latin word for gout, podagra, because it was at one time a specific for gout.
Ingested, the leaves have a diuretic effect and act as a mild sedative. Its use as a medicinal herb has largely declined during the modern era.

12. Richard Mabey Weeds 2010 Profile books London

13. Sir Edward Salisbury Weeds and Aliens The New Naturalist Collins London 1961

How to Get Rid of Ivy for Good

There should be a support group for people trying to remove massive amounts of ivy from their yards. It’s a miserable job. Sometimes it leaves you feeling hopeless. But I’m here to tell you that you’ve got this.

You Can Remove Out-of-control Ivy

Here’s what I was dealing with back in 2014. My ivy spanned the entire width of the backyard, reaching up to one end of the patio and all the way down the slope to the back fence. What had probably started as slope control was turning into lawn cover-upper, staircase rotter and yard destroyer.

It was even starting to smother other plants in the yard. My trees and rhododendrons were suffocating from the vines, and I couldn’t get to them to pull the ivy off because they were surrounded by even more ivy.

Nothing was safe. From the looks of it, in another season or two the house would be buried in vines. And not in a charming English cottage way, but in an abandoned foreclosure house kind of way.

I had to stop the ivy. It seemed impossible, but eventually I got rid of every last root and vine of ivy in my yard. It can be done. I’ll walk you through the steps.

Note: This post contains affiliate links. Learn more on my Disclosures page (and thanks for your support!)

Don’t Try to Start by Cutting It Back

If you’re dealing with massive amounts of ivy, it will take approximately one lifetime to cut it back. I started with this method, and it was like giving a St. Bernard a haircut using nothing but a pair of nail clippers.

Here I am on day one of ivy removal. Happy. Innocent. Completely unaware of the work to come. I started by cutting back the ivy with an electric hedge trimmer, then straining my back to rip the pieces out by the roots.

It took all my strength, and after a hard day’s work I had barely made a dent. I’m pretty sure the next day it all grew back and then some. This method works better for removing smaller patches of ivy.

When ivy has been left to grow wild for a few decades, it stops being a plant and turns into something more like a low-growing evil tree. The vines aren’t green and flimsy. They are thick and woody. It’s not a fair fight. But there’s a better method.

Plastic + Time = Bye, Ivy

After spending a summer getting nowhere with brute force (and cutting through two electric cords with the hedge trimmer…it’s the ivy’s fault), I decided it was time for a new method. Eric and I researched the solarization method, which involves scorching the ivy under plastic. You don’t need a lot of back strength, just a lot of patience.

Here’s what you do:

  1. Completely cover your ivy with thick black plastic sheeting.
  2. Stake down the plastic or hold it in place with something heavy.
  3. Wait for 1-2 years.

OK, I know having 1,000 square feet of black plastic in your yard doesn’t sound too great, but it’s better than killing your back and getting nowhere. It sounds like a long time, but this is actually faster than trying to do it all yourself. With this method, you have the sun on your side.

Under the plastic, the ivy is deprived of water and cooks in the heat. The sun does most of the work while you turn your attention to other projects until the time is up.

Every few months, peek under the plastic and check if the ivy is cooked. When it’s ready there will be no greenery left. Just dry, brittle, lightweight vines. That’s when you can start doing some real work on this ivy.

When your ivy looks like this, it’s ready for removal. (Ignore the fresh ivy that grew through the fence…that can be cut back by hand.)

Remove the Dead Ivy

Now you can cut and pull the ivy with relative ease. Hack away at the vines and pile up the debris. There will be a lot.

You can also try mowing over the vines to break them apart and make them easier to pull up.

Eric mows through a cloud of ivy dust.

Your biggest problem now is getting rid of all those vines. My suggestions: s’more fuel and wreath materials. The twisty vines are especially fun for spooky Halloween wreaths.

Patch Up the Ground Underneath the Ivy

After being buried under thick ivy for many years, the ground may have some weird holes. Now’s a good time to smooth them out.

My yard had an erosion hole and random spots of unevenness. We filled the erosion hole with gravel and smoothed out the rest of the ground with mud. Make sure your ground is fairly smooth before moving on to the next step.

Lay a Barrier to Prevent Rebound Ivy

It was no easy feat getting rid of that ivy, and I know the last thing you want is for it to come back. Since it died under the plastic, it should be gone for good, but let’s call this next phase a safety precaution. It’s time to cover that ground.

Here’s what I did to prepare for planting the area, but you might alter this if you have other plans in mind.

  1. Lay overlapping pieces of cardboard over the former ivy area. This can help block any roots from sprouting up as the cardboard decomposes.
  2. Cover the area with jute mesh. I did this to help provide erosion control on my slope while waiting for the future plants to fill in.
  3. Cover the area with weed barrier landscape fabric. The dead ivy doesn’t stand a chance.

Use landscape staples to secure these layers as needed. Pound them in with your trusty mallet.

Ready for planting!

Reclaim Your Yard

At this point you probably want to fill in your newly reclaimed piece of yard. Will you create a fire pit area, build a shed or studio, or plant a new lawn?

In my case, I added plants right away to help fill in the slope and provide some erosion control. If you’re looking for ideas, here’s what I planted.

Sunnier Slope:

  • Blue fescue grass (evergreen icy blue-green grass)
  • Forsythia (irresistible yellow blooms in late winter or early spring)
  • Candytuft (my go-to evergreen throughout the yard, with springtime blooms)
  • Sedum ground cover (one of my favorite un-killable plants)
  • Dwarf golden arborvitae (tiny yellow-green and slow-growing evergreen shrub)
  • Blue star juniper (pretty blue-green evergreen shrub)
  • Heather (drought-tolerant evergreen mini shrub with purple-pink flowers in the summer)
  • Creeping thyme (perennial ground cover herb that has little purple-pink flowers in the summer)
  • Strawberry vanilla hydrangea (my favorite…the blooms on this sun-loving hydrangea start off white and turn to pink by the end of the summer)

Shadier Slope:

  • Huckleberry (shade-loving evergreen shrub that will eventually give me some berries…can’t wait!)
  • Fern (the evergreen staple of the shade garden)
  • Hosta (perennial shade lover that comes back each year and usually grows bigger with time)
  • Hellebore (a hardy evergreen with buttercup flowers in the winter…this one is a must-have for me)
  • Daylily (a crowd favorite that flowers every year and tolerates some shade)
  • Rhododendron (large evergreen flowering shrub that loves the shade)
  • Hydrangea (my favorite flower, but it needs more water and attention than any other plant on this list)
  • Sedum ground cover (seems to survive in any part of the yard)

Here’s my backyard a few years after removing the ivy. It’s still all clear, with the ivy gone for good!

So did you survive getting rid of your ivy? Tell me all about your progress in the comments.

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