Monday, 23 August 2010

Pachysandra B****Y Terminalis

Please don't get me wrong. I love all things natural, and would strive to protect them at all costs from extinction, but there are two things that as far as I'm concerned can be totally erradicated from the face of the planet.
The first one being this horrendous, skin crawling monster that not only seriously makes me shudder, but also kills just about any plant it manages to sink it's orange fang like mandibles into.
The Chafer larva, a monster like puss filled grub. I can handle slugs, spiders, crane name it, but this.....noooo way.....the only part of me that ever comes into contact with these is the sole of my boot. My most recent contact with the little horrors came about last winter/spring. During the latter half of 2009, the tell tale signs of browning patches of grass appeared over the entire lawn. This was followed by magpies, seagulls and foxes ripping the whole lot up to get to the protein rich blighters. By March, the whole lawn looked like a scene from the Somme. The old treatment used to be to apply a chemical called Bromophos, an organophosphorus compound not good for the person applying it (feel free to look it up for the specifics), and so it was necessary to be fully suited up with a mask and respirator. Nowadays there's Merit Turf a small granular chemical with an incredibly low dose rate that is (so they say) totally safe to the person applying it. A snip at £260.00 for 10kg! It does the job though if applied at exactly the right time, and so hopefully the lawn is clear this year.....I will keep you posted on that one.

Then there is Pachysandra terminalis.
This plant is usually the first one that the novice will come across when thumbing through the cross reference section of most garden encyclopedias, looking for shade tolerant ground cover plants. "Ooh Harold, this should do the trick, it sounds very nice, attractive dark green glossy foliage and dainty white flowers!" And so it is that with this little discovery made by every other household, that we have this dire plant stuck everwhere. Shade tolerant....yes!........shade loving and thriving........Nope! This results in sparse, yellowing ground cover, with straggly stick like growth. I am probably in the minority and I apologise if I offend, but I hate it on every level. Even if it does grow well, it's just plain boring!


  1. Dear Gary, I am in total agreement with you over Chafer grubs. Nasty, voracious creatures, capable of reducing bowling green lawns to bare earth in a matter of moments and known to reduce even grown adults to tears. Yes, yes, extermination is the order of the day.

    Now, Pachysandra terminalis. In my book, if clearly not in yours, this plant scores 11/10!! I have recommended this plant more times than I can remember and, sadly, is never taken up as much as I think it deserves. Tolerant of a wide range of conditions, thrives on neglect, rewards with fresh white flowers over glossy green foliage. What is not to like? I really cannot see why the Spirea 'Goldflame' has a place in your heart that could, in my view, be outstripped instantly by this charming evergreen.

  2. Hi Edith,
    Chafers have always given me the creeps, and I haven't met anyone 'in the trade' yet who doesn't find them abhorrent.
    I do appreciate your comments on Pachysandra, and each to his own I guess. Even Quasimodo had Esmeralda!

  3. Gary, and don't for get the moles that like dinning on those nasty little grubbies... - G

  4. Hello Gary I am undecided on this one - not the Chafers which so far I've avoided but the Pachysandra. In desperation planted some in a shady but dry spot where so far it is not the flourisher I had anticipated but more a terminalis.


  5. Hi Gary,
    Very true! Although there were no signs of the little critters this time, they have proved to be a nuisance elsewhere.

  6. Hi Laura,
    And it's no surprise to me. Pachysandra can talk the talk....but csnnot walk the walk! Byr the way, love your use of

  7. Hi Sammy,
    Nice to see you here, and glad you like!