How can I miss you if you won’t go away?
About three years ago I removed the white wild geranium (Geranium maculatum var. alba) from the front of my sidewalk border. It’s not that I didn’t like the geranium, it’s just that I wanted to try a mix of salvias in its place. Removing the clumps seemed pretty easy – just dig up the horizontal rhizomes.
Some of the geranium was transplanted, some given to friends, some went on the compost heap. I confess that I felt a little guilty about removing all these perfectly good plants.
Turns out the guilt was entirely uncalled for, because the wild geranium had no intention of going softly into the botanical night. Not so slowly, from seeds and bits of rhizome I had missed, it started to reassert itself. In fact, it seemed to grow with great vigor, intending perhaps to teach me a lesson in humility.
Right now there are wild geraniums popping up and blooming between the Salvias. There are also substantial clumps of wild geraniums across the sidewalk in the parkway bed, gradually coming to dominate the wild strawberry (Fragaria virginiana) I use as a groundcover there. I never even planted geraniums in the parkway bed, they moved in on their own. I did think that the contrast in leaf shapes was interesting.
Actually, I don’t mind. Wild geranium is the North American native hardy geranium, a fine plant for the front or middle of the border. It has white or lavender flowers, blooming earlier than most other hardy geraniums. It has attractive, deeply cut, dark green leaves. The leaves may whither some in a sunny spot, but they will come back.
If the geranium were to squeeze out the salvia (‘May Night’, ‘Blue Hill’, and ‘East Friesland’), that would be another matter, but I think the salvias can hold their ground. Similarly, the wild strawberry will keep itself going around and through the geraniums.
Have you ever “removed” a plant only to have it come galloping back? And did you mind?