Violets and Creeping Jenny—They are a Blessing and a Curse

Violets and creeping Jenny do not understand the concept of boundaries. Unfortunately, they both have beautiful colors and decorative leaves. As best I can tell, the violets that plague me came from next door 10 years ago or further back. They used to grow in my neighbor’s yard in patches without ever crossing over. Eventually, they found their way into the backyard, which was mostly okay for a time because there were only a few easily removed patches. After having the yard aerated and weeded, a few years ago, they left–briefly. Even when they returned, there were only a few manageable patches.

While I wasn’t looking this year, they established a foothold in the front yard, sneaking in among the hostas. Confident, they crossed over to a bare area that went unplanted this spring. Now, they cover about four square feet. The blooms are gone, and they look so orderly that they were allowed to stay. I’m torn. The flowers are nice, and in spring, they are a perfect complement to the magenta creeping phlox blooms. In fact, they looked so good together I had planned to take a picture of them–an 18 inch diameter circle of magenta with deep purple and green puffs in the center. The display almost looked intentional, which is why I let it stay.

I planted creeping Jenny assuming it would spread across the ground until it hit cement—wishful thinking. It spread by creeping and jumping. At least, jumping is the only explanation I have for how it could end up 8-10 feet away from the next nearest patch. It is as bad as the violets. Together they have completely taken over the place reserved for the crocosmia that died out. Instead of a brown patch of mulch bleached by the sun, there is a decorative patch of chartreuse and forest green. Looking over the patch recently, I decided the green was better than the brown, so I let both stay.

Violets and creeping Jenny are like relatives who overstay their visit but whom you like too much to ask to leave. And both are filling in the gaps resulting from my being unable to plant this spring. They can stay for now, but next spring, we’ll have to talk.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.