Which Plant Would You Toss?

April 14, 2008 | By | Comments (22)


Curb your hormones, ladies. I know this shot of my old buddy, Felder Rushing, is bound to give you the tingles. Felder is probably the South’s best-known gardening personality, thanks to his offbeat viewpoint, irreverent sense of humor, wealth of knowledge, and shameless self-promotion. Check out his website at www.felderrushing.net. He and I co-wrote Passalong Plants (University of North Carolina Press, 1994), an award-winning book whose mind-boggling sales allowed us to choose between sending our respective kids to college or traveling extensively to exotic faraway lands. After carefully considering the matter for what seemed like minutes, we packed our bags and hit the road. College is overrated.

In case you’re wondering what Felder is doing, he’s training for the newest Olympic event — the Pot Shot. The Pot Shot is replacing Synchronized Swimming, which everyone agreed was not only pointless, but also less dramatic than Synchronized Sewing. Felder will attempt to set a new world record by hurling this cordyline plant farther than anyone has in history. Since no one has ever tossed one before, his victory seems assured. Notice his ripped abs, his flawless technique. Eat your heart out, Peyton Manning.

This leads me to the obvious question, esteemed reader — If you could toss one plant so far as to erase it from existence along with all others of its species, what plant would you choose? Golden euonymus? Chinese privet? Dandelion? Kudzu? Poodle juniper? Redtip? Bamboo? Mimosa?

Write back and tell me what plant you’d like to kill for all time. Don’t be bashful — it’ll make you feel better.



  1. Ginny

    Even though the hummingbirds love the flowers, I would toss the trumpet vine because it’s so invasive! I found it growing up through the floor of our garden shed. It was a deadly shade of white due to the darkness of the shed.

    May 15, 2008 at 12:51 pm
  2. Jane in Ohio

    Trumpet vine…..I would toss it if I could. Last summer it found it’s way under our storage barn, about 6 feet, in into my Annabell hydrangeas. I cut it out but it is back…..

    May 13, 2008 at 11:00 pm
  3. Christi

    Laura, you fix a boy cat when he is a kitten and NO spraying. I’d like to send my neighbors cat with yours. Gives our other MALE felines a bad name. Oh, I’d get rid of the 250,000 small little green trees that come up EVERYWHERE in my backyard. Not sure what they are but if you have one big one (evergreen) you will have millions of babies!

    May 13, 2008 at 1:50 pm
  4. Jo

    I’d toss chamelion plant. It grows like a weed in sun or shade and stinks to high heaven when pulled out. The roots go deep and everywhere. We spray generously with roundup to keep in control.

    May 13, 2008 at 11:35 am
  5. grumpygardener

    Laura, I am shocked — JUST SHOCKED — that you would suggest tossing a cat! Don’t you know that cats always land on their feet? You need to toss something that lands on its head. I suggest a game show host.

    April 23, 2008 at 3:54 pm
  6. Laura

    I’d like to toss my cat because he keeps “spraying” all over the yard, and I’ll throw in a bucket of weeds along with him. How about that? 😉

    April 22, 2008 at 8:52 pm
  7. beachpeach

    I would eradicate my neighbor’s ivy–it keeps moving into my yard and up my trees. I had it dug out last year but it will certainly return. It keeps the snakes cool, but I can do without those too.

    April 22, 2008 at 10:34 am
  8. Glenda

    Liriope (monkeygrass?) would be my choice of a toss-it plant. It’s said you put in where it can be contained (as in a border) …ha! It grows under cement walks, up between bricks, it’s everywhere. It chokes out other desirable plants, depriving them of water and nutrition. Next would be wisteria that has grown even through the door of our shed; and most vines!!! There’s a new plant to our yard that grows in clumps and has bamboo-like features that I have yet to identify. It grows and has awn-like seedheads. It seems to be everywhere and impossible to pull up, dig up or poison out (so far).

    April 21, 2008 at 8:56 pm
  9. ciel

    If I could get rid of one plant in my life it would be wiregrass/commonbermuda/devilgrass – hate it, hate it, hate it. Next on my list is Johnsongrass, then fire ants – oops, not plants are they? Hate them too.

    April 19, 2008 at 6:35 pm
  10. grumpy gardener

    Well, you could. But the real artistry involved in creating yucca tulips demands that you use tulip flowers cut from styrofoam egg cartons of different colors. Not only does this arrangement last and last, but it also takes very little work, which to my way of thinking, is one of the big advantages.
    Just be careful when spearing the tulips on the ends of the yucca leaves. They say an artist must suffer for his work. In this case, it’s true.

    April 19, 2008 at 9:10 am
  11. pat

    southern tulips?? now thats funny…I can paint the egg cups different colors??

    April 18, 2008 at 12:10 pm
  12. Sarah

    Without a doubt, wiregrass (bermuda grass)! Most other invasives, I can just avoid, by not planting them in my yard, but wiregrass…it just shows up for the party, without being invited! ARGH! I hate the stuff.

    April 18, 2008 at 9:26 am
  13. grumpygardener

    But Terri, if we eliminate bamboo, what will happen to the pandas? Are you a panda hater? I know I’m seeing fewer and fewer pandas in my neighborhood lately. Maybe we should plant MORE bamboo!

    April 18, 2008 at 9:22 am
  14. Patricia Mielnicki

    Toss,throw,eliminate Poison Ivy. In order to pull it up you must use a space suit then you have to figure out what to do with it once you’ve pulled it up, can’t bury it, can’t burn it and they don’t like it in the trash. Maybe it too can go to the Desert!

    April 18, 2008 at 7:48 am
  15. Ann McPeek

    Yews!!Overused, used incorrectly, and horribly butchered by everyone and her sister and brother.

    April 17, 2008 at 6:59 pm
  16. Betsy

    I would toss wisteria.. It may be pretty when it blooms but it
    is EVERYWHERE I don’t want it to be and it grows a foot a day.
    It is all I can do to keep it cut back to the woody stems.

    April 17, 2008 at 6:05 pm
  17. Fan

    Add that scraggly 4 foot bambo that grows wild near damp areas to the list, too. Yuck.

    April 17, 2008 at 3:18 pm
  18. Fan

    I don’t know the real name of this plant, although I do have a few names of my own for it. It’s the fine leaved grassy looking weed that creeps into all the places you don’t wany it to be by stretching out scores and scores of runners, each of which puts down roots about every six inches to form new clumps from which to send more runners that form more clumps until the whole think is like a mat. Then it turns brown. This stuff tries to take over my pine straw beds, and has even made huge inroads in choking out the centipede in part of my back yard. The trouble with it – aside from its apparent desire to replace kudzo as the Plant That Ate the South – is that once it gets thick, it’s nearly impossible to pull up once, and when you try to pull up the runners, they almost always leave something behind. Send it to the desert – it’d probably green the globe for a few weeks anyway.

    April 17, 2008 at 3:14 pm
  19. Terri

    Bamboo, bamboo, bamboo. Some braintrust in my neighborhood planted some in their backyard about oh, I don’t know, 20 years ago maybe. They have since moved out of the neighborhood and left us battling this relentless beast! It snakes all over the yard and every year shoots get closer and closer to the house. We stomp them, chop them, try to poison them and the only thing I know to do now is to concrete over them, but I bet during the growing season they would grow through before it got hard.

    April 17, 2008 at 2:57 pm
  20. felder

    Actually, it ain’t how FAR you can toss the plant – it’s how far you can toss it and it land STILL STANDING UP (hence the selection of Cordyline, whose foliage creates just the right amount of drag…)

    April 17, 2008 at 11:17 am
  21. grumpygardener

    Actually, Pat, I believe yucca tossing is already an Olympic event. It’s called the javelin. But don’t be so hard on yucca. Cutting out tulip shapes from egg cartons and spearing them onto the points of yucca leaves creates a classic Southern art form — yucca tulips. They’re purty, classy, and provide year-round color. I’ll post a picture soon to show you how bee-yoo-tee-ful they can be.

    April 16, 2008 at 7:24 pm
  22. pat

    I would throw away yucca plants, They are hard to get rid of…send out little baby plants and hills of tuberous roots that build up. I am having to use an axe to chop through the roots!

    April 16, 2008 at 3:32 pm

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