We have a plan for our future homestead: to plant with purpose. That purpose will be edible landscaping. Basically, if the plant is edible and an easy to maintain perennial, it is in! That doesn't mean we won't be planting a few other plants for medicinal or even decorative purposes, it just means that most all of our planting on our homestead will be done with prior careful thought and purpose. That brings me to todays post.
One the years my husband and I have planted many different types of plants at our suburban house for many different reasons: pretty, suggested by friends or family, free from others, or transplanted from somewhere else. Unfortunately there was little to no research on any of these plants prior to planting, and well, we regret it now because they are impossible to get rid of and a real pain in the neck to maintain. Some of the plants actually came with the house when it was purchased, and again, we didn't think much about them at the time. Either way these plants have provided us with not only a great learning experience, but a list of plants TO NEVER PLANT on our future Homestead!
Here's our list:
I absolutely love how wisteria looks and smells in the spring. It is so beautiful the way it drapes down and hangs and to walk past it and smell the aroma is, well, heavenly. But...that only lasts for about a week. And. That. Is. Not. Worth. It. The rest of the year I am chasing down the runners that spread 30 feet or more all over the yard, up trees, into the neighbors yard, all over the fence, and even into my pool once while we were away! I can't even begin to describe how horrible this plant can be all for the reward of one weeks worth of beauty. It's simply not worth it. And, once it's planted you can absolutely never, ever, get rid of it! It will be a lifetime of maintenance and the plant will, literally, outlive you! if yore interested and willing to do the work you can learn more about wisteria here.
The yucca plant is well, yucka! I absolutely hate it. Yeah, the flowers look kind of pretty but they attract so many ants that they become ugly really quickly! And cutting those long nasty stalks covered in ants really stinks. The leaves are pointy and sharp and can really hurt you too. And seriously, trying to get rid of the plant is impossible. It spreads too easily and seriously, the leaves need a 'hair cut" every spring! The work to pleasure ratio just isn't there for me! Oh, and I did my research and this is not the edible species of yucca. Some yucca have edible parts, but this is NOT the one so bye bye yucca! Read more about the difference between the yucca and yuca plants and their usable parts here.
Blackberries are delicious, but picking them really is the pits. We planted a blackberry bush a few years ago that we got on sale in Home Depot. HUGE mistake. It grows like crazy, has the nastiest and sharpest prickers, and we absolutely can't get rid of it no matter how many times we "excavated" it out of the ground. When we bought this blackberry bush we had no idea there were different kinds and that some are invasive. Apparently there are ways to tell the species apart - the invasive ones have a hexagonally shaped stem with flattish sides. Who knew? Well, now we do, but either way the thorns are terrible so unless there is a thornless variety that is not invasive, blackberries will never be planted on our homestead! Read about invasive and non-invasive blackberries here.
Where to start? Yeah, it looks pretty nice around our little front porch but it does need to be cut at least twice a year, the flowers aren't that pretty (and only grow in the sunlight so only the right side gets any flowers), and they don't even smell that good! The stems become like mini trees and literally rip the porch apart as they wrap around it and through it. They are also ripping the rain gutters off the roof! Finally they have these little tiny roots on all the shoots that literally grab onto anything so they can climb. Pretty interesting, but this means you literally have to rip it off sometimes. Again, too much maintenance for relatively minor return. Not worth it in my opinion. Here's more info on climbing hydrangeas if you are interested.
What. A. Nightmare. As pretty as this looks, it is a real pain to maintain. It can send runners out up to 10 feet (or ore) away that literally pop out in the middle of the lawn! This would literally take over my entire front yard if I let it. The flowers are pretty but they attract a lot of ants and other critters and it constantly needs to be 'trimmed.' Way too much work to simply keep it under control. Read more about trumpet vines here.
I have a love-hate relationship with my privet hedges. Here in the suburbs I love the privacy they provide me in my backyard (hence their name), however with 50' feet of them on one side and about 20' on the other, it is a lot of work to keep them maintained. Believe it or not I used to have about 70' of them across the front of my house too, but we ripped those out. We used to keep them trimmed ourselves but they are currently about 10 feet high and we just can't keep up with it anymore. This means we pay to keep them looking ok each season. And that is just ok because they really should be trimmed twice a year. Thankfully on our new homestead there will be no need for any privacy barriers since we will be building literally in the middle of our 30 acres! We won't have any close neighbors at all! Read more about privet hedges here.
These are great for growing on fences because it looks nice by kind of hiding the fence but it spreads and grows like crazy and I find myself ripping it out every season as it reaches for all my other plants and bushes around it. There is a tree in the neighbors yard that is actually being choked to death by this ivy and we worry that it will die and fall in our pool at some point. In my opinion it just requires too much maintenance. Read more about English Ivy here.
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Hi there! I'm Kathie, the author behind Creating A Simpler Life blog. I'm excited to share our longterm projects (and planning) toward building our future retirement homestead in the Adirondack Mountains of New York. In the meantime I will be sharing all the other little things we do that are part of creating our simpler life!