Should Garden Centers Sell Thugs?
Now here's an interesting question. Should garden centers sell plant thugs?
In most gardens, Aegopodium or Goutweed or Bishop's Weed is a rampant spreader and a major pest. It never met a plant it didn't want for dinner and to crowd out if at all possible. It spreads and is barely confined to a garden bed by concrete lined beds.
So should nurseries produce this plant? Should garden shops sell it to unsuspecting gardeners?
Somewhere, in a past life I broached this question to a sales executive of a major Canadian nursery and the response was predictable. "We only grow them because there's a demand for them." In other words, somebody wants it - so we'll grow it no matter how badly it messes up gardens. It isn't the responsibility of the producer nursery to make decisions for gardeners.
And it isn't the responsibility of the garden center to make that decision either - or is it?
I saw flats of Sedum acre for sale in garden centers this year - even though it used to be listed as a noxious weed in this province. It is possible and legal to produce and sell a noxious weed?
In the case of the Bishops Weed - it does make a good ground cover where few other plants will thrive. And when pruned with a lawn mower, it rebounds to produce a dense mat of foliage. In the case of the Sedum acre, its brilliant yellow flowers blaze across rock gardens.
We know that the vast majority of plant thugs were introduced by the governments of various states or provinces and touted by them as "solutions" to problems. (can you say Kudzu vine) so the ornamental horticulture industry isn't to blame for these things. And gardeners aren't as well.
The question still remains - do we produce and sell plant thugs?
And who defines plant thug?