This morning I've been taking a look at the Invasive Plant Species of South Carolina list - in preparation for the development of my LEED landscape plan (which I started thinking about months ago, but got distracted by other things). According to LEED, the 'intent' of the landscape plan (SS 2: Landscaping) is to 'Design landscape features to avoid invasive species and minimize demand for water and synthetic chemicals.'
The prerequisite for this states: '2.1 No Invasives Plants. Introduce no invasive plant species into the landscape.'
First thing to notice is that this doesn't mean that non-native plants can't be introduced into the landscape (I think if we were all limited to truly native plants, that would be next to impossible...right?). The second thing, that I need clarification on at some point, is the use of the word 'introduce'. I have invasives in my garden - they were there when I bought the place, and many of them are, to put it simply, a part of the place. So right now I'm going on the premise that I can't introduce any NEW invasives into the garden - but with respect to the ones that are present in the garden as I type this, well - I suppose their fate is up to me.
(Now, I fully realize that the LEED certifier might look at my plan and disagree with my interpretation - but I'll wait for that to happen, if indeed it even does).
So what's invasive in my garden?
You'll have to fight me to take down the chinese tallow trees (Triadica sebifera) on the side fence row. It's a non-native invasive (from China) - and I've mentioned it often in these pages (...when it's filled with blackbirds, as a virtual blackbird buffet, and as a resting place for the cedar waxwings - oh, and there's those well known pieces of popcorn, and the fall color) - in other words, these trees are a part of the place.
The chinese wisteria (Wisteria sinensis) can go. I know, I know - when it blooms in the springtime, I forgive it completely for the other eleven and a half months of pure headache. It has taken over the shady areas underneath my current dwelling, I fight to keep it out of the tea olive and texas mountain laurel - it stretches aggressively into any shady place it can find, putting down roots, taking up residence. It has won - it has been winning for years - and there is a chance that later today I will take my little battery-powered chain saw and at least cut the main stalk at it's base. These are not easy things for me to do - it will feel like a betrayal - but I know that I need to do this. And the slippery slope of plant addiction: I recently read where someone had their wisteria in a large pot - placed in a central, sunny spot in the garden (it seems to be a bit more manageable in full sun) - trellised, of course. I think it's worth a try. (I could regret this. I most likely will regret this - but I have few regrets, so it shouldn't be a terrible burden to bear.).
Golden bamboo (Phyllostachys aurea). I won't eradicate it from my garden. It's in the back left corner - and each spring when it's canes start coming up, I just snap them off when they're small and flexible. The stands backs up to a tidal creek - so it won't spread in that direction. I think I can manage it, and I'm willing to put the effort into it.
Yes, there are nandinas (Nandina domestica). Just a few, but I have noticed them popping up in other locations over the past few years. I'm not a huge fan of them, but these are sentimental members of my garden: they are passalong plants from my Mother's Virginia garden. I'll probably let them go, but I'm not sure yet.
So - then there's chinese privet (Ligustrum sinense) and japanese honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica). I'll try and get rid of the honeysuckle (but secretly, and somewhat happily, I know that I won't succeed). The same probably goes for the chinese privet, that are really only in a few areas (along the fence row) - and have you ever seen the beautiful blue berries in the fall?
(I realize that I'm not thinking clearly here - or even scientifically, truth-be-told. I am a sentimental gardener. I know that my ability to manage these plants in my single acre along the Atlantic coast is being approached naively - for example, the berries of the privet travel - they move, and it's silly to think that they only impact my garden. I do know this. I'm trying to come to grips with it, develop my own personal invasive species policy - and with time, I imagine that I will do the right thing. But I do need to think a bit more about this first.).