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  • Upcoming Garden Events in Middle Tennessee

    March 1 – 4: Nashville Lawn & Garden Show, Fairgrounds Nashville: The annual all-indoors garden event that features live garden displays, lectures, vendors, floral designs and special programming Wine Festival featuring Tennessee wines is Saturday (March 3), noon – 5 p.m. For more information on the events and the complete lecture schedule, visit www.nashvillelawnandgardenshow.com.

    April 7: Perennial Plant Sale hosted by the Perennial Plant Society of Middle Tennessee annual Perennial Plant Sale at The Fairgrounds Nashville. Find newly released and hard-to-find perennials along with a wide range of tried and tested varieties, all from top local nurseries. The sale opens at 9 a.m. and usually sells out by early afternoon. For more information, visit www.ppsmtn.org.

    April 14: Herb & Plant Sale hosted by The Herb Society of 9 a.m. – 2 p.m., at The Fairgrounds Nashville Sports Arena building. The sale offers common and rare varieties of herbs and heirloom vegetables and handmade pottery and herb markers by artist Roy Overcast for sale. For more information and a list of available plants, visit www.herbsocietynashville.org.

    April 21: Herb & Craft Fair hosted by First Unitarian Universalist Church of Nashville, 1808 Woodmont Blvd., 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. Top quality perennial and annual herbs, heirloom tomato plants, native and companion plants, along with food and craft items reflecting an interest in the homemade and homegrown: fresh homemade sweet and yeast breads, spice mixes, barbecue sauces, jams and jellies; knitted and sewn items, homes for birds and bees, and art, jewelry and more made from pressed flowers. Visit www.thefuun.org.

    May 12: Hosta sale hosted by the Middle Tennessee Hosta. Proceeds from the sale support the club’s activities. More information about the MTHS is at www.mths-hosta.com.

    May 19: Urban Gardening Festival, hosted by Master Gardeners of Davidson County, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. (rain or shine) at the Master Gardeners’ Demonstration Garden at Ellington Agricultural Center (5201 Marchant Drive in Nashville). The free event includes information about a variety of gardening methods and techniques, local artisans, exhibiters, growers and more. For information, visit www.mgofdc.org/ugf.

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Spiderwort: Love it or loathe it?

QUESTION: We have clumps of spiderwort popping up all throughout the perennial beds. The little flowers are pretty, but the plants are taking over parts of the beds, and more I pull up the more they grow. How do you get rid of them?

Spiderwort 3It is hard to remain neutral about spiderwort (Tradescantia virginiana) if you’re a gardener. Either you love it for its pretty blue flowers and the fact that it grows without complaint just about anywhere, or you hate it because it’s a thug that muscles its way in and runs over everything else in the garden.

The individual blooms last only for a day, but the buds grow in large clusters, and some are always blooming. That’s one of the good things about spiderwort. It reproduces by letting its seeds blow all over the place, which is why you’ll find spiderwort suddenly growing up in inconvenient places – through the center of a clump of favorite daylilies or in the middle of the iris bed, as they do in my garden, for example. Not so good.

Getting rid of it is not easy. The roots are strong and fleshy and grow in large, wide clumps so pulling it out only works when the plants are very young. Digging is required, and you must dig up every bit of it because what’s left in the ground will grow into more spiderwort. If you feel you must bring in the chemicals, use a product that contains glysophate (such as Roundup), but use it only as the label advises, and keep it from drifting onto other plants.

It may be easier to control spiderwort if you deadhead it (cut off the flowers before they can disperse seeds), and pull up new shoots as soon as you see them emerge from the ground.

Spiderwort 1I remember visiting a friend’s shade garden several years ago and seeing a vigorous clump of spiderwort growing at the edge of the path. She was surprised when I told her that I dig it up and toss it out whenever I find it in my beds. “The little flowers are pretty,” she said. “And it grows so well in the shade!”

Yes, that’s the part to love. Just remember how watchful you have to be to keep it from taking over your yard.

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5 Responses

  1. I always wondered what that plant was! Thanks for all of the great info.

    • There’s a plant that looks similar called dayflower (I think) that blooms later and also is pretty aggressive. I’m already pulling them up whenever I find them.

  2. I love mine! It grows in a shady bed that gets dry into July/Aug, so that seems to keep it under control and it provides pretty blooms from May-July.

    • The blooms are pretty, aren’t they? I also discovered that rabbits nibbled it in early spring, and maybe that keeps it from getting too much out of control.

  3. I have been gardening here for 30 years and for all 30 years I have been trying to get rid of Spiderwort. There is more than ever. The same thing applies to tall tall lilies, Hemerocallis fulva. Both are impossible to eliminate if they are mixed in with desirable perennials because of the pernicious spreading roots.
    I have very large garden beds. Both plants remind me of mosquitos….ubiquitous, stubborn, and annoying. Both of these were here when we bought the house.

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