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Butterfly bush will stay and the Mimosa tree must go -- but not yet

Butterfly bush will stay and the Mimosa tree must go -- but not yet

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I have an area, off the side porch, which used to be a beautiful herbaceous flower bed. It did have a couple butterfly bushes to give it weight, but other than that, it overflowed with whatever perennial caught my whim.

My oldest daughter, then 5, would call out the plants she knew: Rudbeckia, Echinacea, Nepata, and stopping at the Stachys byzantine to pick the velvety leaf of the commonly known Lamb’s Ear, and rub it on her face. Time has passed and the boarder has faded, along with my daughter’s grasp of flora and fauna names.

I have recently decided, after surveying the tangled mess over my morning coffee, to revive the area and bring it back to its former glory. I have even gone so far as to take measurements, sketch a plan, and start a plant list. The butterfly bush will stay, but everything else must go, even the Mimosa, which appeared one day and began to take over the area. It leans at an odd angle and is encroaching on the Crape Myrtle, and basically looking every bit like something that does not belong.

The thing about Mimosa trees is, very often they are not there, and then suddenly they are. The Mimosa is an exotic beauty, brought over from Asia. They are a fast growing tree or weed, depending on who you ask, and quickly shade out sun loving grass and plants. They are short lived, with a lifespan of 10 to 20 years and sometimes, just suddenly die.

I’ve heard it said that the fastest way to kill a Mimosa tree is to make it the focal point of your yard. The seeds germinate readily, and everywhere, and the pods make quite a mess. The wood is brittle and weak, often leaving a misshapen tree. The flowers are stunning and the fragrance heavenly, but think long and hard before you invite it to your yard.

As I stand on the side porch, coffee again in hand, I stare at the glory of my Mimosa in full bloom, which is absolutely gorgeous and the scent divine. The sketch has been set aside, but close at hand, since the tree has earned a slight reprieve, at least till the blooms are gone.

This time next year, I will be enjoying my morning coffee and admiring the perennials, minus the Mimosa.

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