This mess is now gone. It contained a mixture of Ribbon Grass (probably Phalaris arundinacea), False Dragon's Head (Physostegia virginiana), and Four O'Clocks (Mirabilis jalapa) . I pulled it all out yesterday, still blooming. I don't have an after picture yet, but I will once I've planted something nice there. You all know what bare dirt looks like.
The False Dragon's Head and the Ribbon Grass were passalong plants given to me by a well-meaning co-worker when I first moved to my new house and had a blank slate of a garden. Literally, the only plants on my property at that time were the lawn grasses beginning to germinate in the newly sown lawn.
I graciously accepted these plants from her, and planted them in this spot to hold them over until I had a chance to figure out what I was going to do to create gardens. A few years later, in a nostalgic moment, I sowed seeds for Four O'Clocks in this same area, just because my Dad had Four O'Clocks in a few spots in his garden. I remember that they self sowed in the window wells of the basement windows, and I liked that. (Never mind that I didn't plant them near any window wells, because I don't have any.)
If you've been reading along this blog for awhile, you know that I am now on a mission to get rid of these particular plants. Oh, how I wish I had turned down the gift of these plants or thrown them in the trash!
A new reader, "Jennifer", also a Hoosier, commented a few days ago, "As we were ripping out overgrown landscaping in our corner lot bed yesterday, a neighbor stopped and gave us some of that same ornamental grass that you warn about. Now I have to come up with a way of not planting it without offending the nice lady. Any ideas for a graceful exit strategy?"
Obviously I couldn't say no ten years ago to Ribbon Grass. So I'm throwing the question out to anyone who wants to offer advise on this.
How do you say no to someone who offers you a plant you know you shouldn't plant in your garden? Or that you just don't like? Do you have a 'horror story' about accepting and planting a free plant that shouldn't have?