Taming an Unruly Monster

15pea monst1

I don’t know how this pretty-but-dangerous sweet pea found its way into my garden, but she’s been a beautiful bastion ever since she arrived, despite her inherent danger. I’ve only planted sweet peas once – the fancy, frilly annual variety – and after that this stood in their place. I’m not sure if it came in with that group, or if some bird deceptively dropped a seed in to confuse the situation. It’s the wild perennial version, the one that’s taken over hillsides throughout the area, and one that can be tenaciously invasive in tendency and sprawl. Confined and controlled, it makes a refreshing sight in first bloom. After that it gets extremely straggly and untidy, and I usually cut it down drastically in mid-summer to get a fresh crop of leaves later.

I say it’s dangerous because it will reseed if given the chance, and if left untended those seeds will grow into pesky plants with root systems that just won’t give up. This is one that requires constant vigilance. The single specimen I maintain would have become ten by now (and there are two or three that have taken hold in inconvenient-to-reach spots that will need to be eradicated sooner rather than later.) I like the single plant we have, and it’s a colorful focal point covering a free-standing trellis. But we have to be wary, and certain beasts, no matter how deceptively gorgeous, need to be kept in check.

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