Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Plant of the week - a Love/Hate relationship

My plant of the week for this week is...

Centaurea montana 'Amethyst in Snow.'

I LOVE the way this plant looks right now. I LOVE the way it attracts pollinators, like native bees. 

I don't mind that it attracts ants (ants are good for loosening up the soil).

I tolerate that it's an aggressive spreader (that's ONE plant in the picture).

I HATE that it will look like crap after it's done blooming. It gets infected with a fungus (can you say powdery mildew?) EVERY. FREAKING. YEAR.

I LOVE that I just have to cut it back to the ground and it recovers from the powdery mildew and comes back strong, blooming to beat the band the following spring. That's a good thing for the plant, too. If I have to treat a plant for a disease I'd rather pull it out and replace it with something else. 

No chemicals that kill things for my garden, thank you. I have yet to find a plant that's worth poisoning my local ecosystem (and myself and my family). 

Besides, a fungicide that kills powdery mildew will also affect the mycorrhizae in the soil [don't know what mycorrhizae are? They're soil fungi that are beneficial [and sometimes required] for plant health].

AND I'll stop now, before I get back on my we-all-live-in-the-same-environment soap box.

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