Disclaimer: this is an Oriental Poppy and it does grow where I want it.
I have lived in this house for 30 years, amazing how time flies. I really didn't ever think I would be a gardener or like being one at all. When we were kids we always had to work in the yard prior to doing things we wanted. I just never really got into it.
When I first moved in all there was, were weeds and sagebrush growing around the house. I had no idea where to even begin. I began without really knowing what to do or how. I bought lots of plants at plant sales, started scoping out end of season sales in big box stores and nurseries. The lot is large at least at the time for one person to take care of it seemed pretty large and didn't understand about amending soil or figuring out how before attempting to grow things. Over the years I managed to kill a fair amount of plants. However they do say if you haven't killed a type of plant in your yard 3 times give it another try.
I kept plugging away, if something didn't work I'd try something else. One of my neighbors was a big gardener always out in the yard in the summer, many of the older plants came from her. She was a house cleaner by trade and about that time it occurred to me that yard work was like house work only outside.
During the time we owned a restaurant, I did almost nothing in the yard. If things lived it was because they were tough and could withstand the climate here. I had no irrigation system other than a hose and nozzle and in the winter the temperature was often in negative 20's. I remember visiting The Luther Burbank Botanical Garden in Santa Rosa Calif. one summer and talking to the head gardener. He asked where we lived and what zone we were in and when I said Park City and zone 1-3 he said "Oh dark side of the moon."
It only got better from there.
I kept buying and plants and trying to make thing look good. We got married in 2000 so of course I had to make the yard look presentable. The weeds had taken over everything. In hacking away at them I found plants that I thought were long dead, either surrounded by weeds to the point that I couldn't see them or the deer had eaten them down to almost nothing. I kept weeding and planting.
10 years ago I took a master gardener course that was 2 years long done by the Utah State extension dept. Man the things that I found out that I hadn't known. This kind of course makes you aware of all the things that you didn't know and still don't. I have so many more questions about everything in the plant world.
I should have amended the soil prior to planting anything, oops big mistake. This is the main reason after 30 years I am still dealing with bad soil, lots of clay and very alkaline.
But, I digress, I was supposed to be writing about plants and what grows really, really well and what doesn't.
Back in the old days around my house if someone had a plant that they said could be invasive or fast growing, I was all over it. I remember buying vetch from one of the gardening catalogs because it said it was a great ground cover and grew really fast. That was my first invasive and it does exactly what the catalog said it would grew really fast, I put it on our hill and it has covered a great deal of it. The only saving grace is it is really easy to pull out.
Next I saw a plant at a little nursery that had a beautiful perennial garden and asked about it and was told it was phlox but it could be invasive and would cover a lot ground, silly me I said "perfect"! I bought two 2 gallon pots and put them in the perennial garden here. I ripped half of it out 5 or 6 years ago as it was taking over the garden. I am in the process of ripping it all out, as it is now about 10 feet square and choking out plants I really like.
Then there is the lambs ear, no one mentioned how fast it grows I had 4 of these that I set along the drive way they are everywhere now. But if you find the native one while in the woods they make great toilet paper.
Then one year I thought I need help and my husband said go to the nursery and get a plan, sounds really wonderful, so I did. They planted 3 rabbit brush, they took over the yard and neighborhood . We completely took them out 3 years ago, cut them to the ground, "HA" we were wrong they refused to die. They are once again taking over.
These four were the worst of my decisions.
I have several other plants that want to encroach everywhere but in the race for world domination they just aren't as bad as their cousins above. They are Lemon Cat Mint, (hey it smells really good). Fever few, (has really pretty little daisy like flowers), Pink Rugosa Rose, it was in the overwintered group at the nursery it was a great deal, right.
I just don't understand the plants I would love to grow that I baby and fertilize and water and talk to most of them give up the ghost in the first season.
They say weeds are plants that grow where you don't want them. Why are they so able to avoid adversity and thrive, be they weeds, bindweed, thistle, dyers woad, etc. or just plants that tend towards invasive.
I don't understand back to my books.