Weedy Tendencies of the Japanese Knotweed
Because of its underground, creeping stem habit, the Japanese Knotweed may
become a vile weed. This underground stem or rootstock develops numerous
buds, each of which may form a new plant; thus it creeps from the desired
limits, invading the territory of more worthy plants. In the vicinity of
State College, Pennsylvania, the plant has become obnoxious in several
localities, I have been compelled to fight the weed each spring in the
vicinity of my home. The pest is difficult to combat due to the deep-seated
rootstocks, which must be carefully dug out. Cutting back the little plants
as they come above ground in the spring seems to be of no avail, since
numerous others are constantly appearing to take the place of those cut out.
If all the plants, including the parent, are kept continually cut back for a
period of at least two years, the rootstock must eventually become starved
out, since green tissue is necessary in order to manufacture food. A former
gardener of the Brooklyn Botanic Garden informs me that he had a similar
experience with this plant.
The Japanese Knotweed is variously listed under such scientific
names as Polygonum cuspidatum, Pleuropterus Zuccarinii and Polygonum
Zuccarinii. It grows to a maximum height of eight feet, and is rendered
conspicuous by the profusion of greenish-white flowers which appear from
July to October in the form of long, slender racemes; the flowers and the
resulting triangular fruits are very characteristic. The plant is readily
identified by the large long-pointed leaves with peculiar bases which has
the appearance of being abruptly cut off as though with a pair of shears.
The noxious feature, the rootstock, is characterized by begin rather heavy
and woody, and studded with many large, often reddish buds, each of which is
a potential plant; the rootstocks may be dug out in sections several feet in
On account of its possibilities of developing into a pestiferous
weed, those who contemplate using the Japanese Knotweed in the spring
planting should proceed with caution. Many of our worst weeds, of which the
Orange Hawkweed is a conspicuous example, were originally imported into this
country for the purpose of garden cultivation and escaped their artificial
boundaries to pester the farmer and become sources of great economic loss to
the nation. The presence of the Japanese Knotweed in the garden apparently
is a menace which should not be tolerated. Our list of garden plants, which
have escaped to become noxious weeds, is already far too large; it should
not be added to by this new pest.—Albert A. Hansen, Dept. of Botany,
State College, Pa.
Gordonia—Why So Little Grown?—There are many plants about which I
ask myself this question, but perhaps more frequently in connection with our
native Gordonia altamaha than any other flowering shrub. It has a great deal
of interest, both because of its period of flowering (late fall) and of its
strange personal history.
Here is a shrub bearing large, cup-shaped flowers of white, with
clusters of conspicuous yellow stamens resembling as nearly as anything a
small single white Peony. In a specimen growing at Garden City, the flowers
measure four inches across and they are produced from the end of August
until the weather gets too cold in October. The specimen is now six to eight
feet high and was planted in the open lawn about three years ago as a small
rotted cutting in October.
It has another attraction, that is the claret-red color of the
foliage in late fall. It does not produce its flowers in a large crop, but
scatteringly over a period of two months and that at a time when there are
very few other flowers to be had for anything in the outdoor garden. The
specimen shown in the photograph is growing in Mr. Robert W. DeForest's
gardens at Coldspring, L.I. Every once in a while the nurserymen will offer
the Gordonia, but it is not generally in stock.
The plant's individual history is curious. It was discovered
alongside the Altamaha River, Georgia, in 1765, by John Bartram, and was
introduced into England by his son, William, nine years later and was lost.
The second collection was made in 1778 from which all plants now in
cultivation have been derived. It is curious that the plant has not been
seen in a wild condition since 1790 and the majority of the plants now in
cultivation have been derived from the plant growing in Bartram's garden in
Philadelphia. It would indeed seem that Gordonia altamaha is an appropriate
shrub for American gardens.—L.B.
Gordonia altamaha, one of the rarest of shrubs in gardens, is
a native of Georgia, but not seen wild since 1790. Flowers white in late
summer and fall
Building a Home.—In renewing our subscription I feel I must write and
tell you what a help your magazine has been to us. We are city people with
little money, who were determined to live in the country and hoped to make a
living there. We rented one place, as an experiment, to make sure we really
would like the country. Then we bought a twelve acre fruit farm and loved
it but after five years' struggle with lack of help and lack of
knowledge, we failed ignominiously and, very sorrowfully, went back to town.
Just about the time The Garden
Magazine was first published we made another attempt to live out of
town. We bought twelve acres of pasture land. It had nothing on it but a few
trees and they were so situated that we could not build near them. We
subscribed for The Garden Magazine
and followed its teaching closely.
Two years ago we sold that place for an unusual price for this
vicinity and we have bought another place with half the money. The
new place looked almost hopeless but is now beginning to show the effect of
The Garden Magazine's
influence. In a short time we are sure we are going to have a beautiful
little home—and a living. We grow Gladiolus and Aster blooms for a
city florist and small fruits for the city market. Once, three years ago we
decided we would not take the Garden
any longer but would depend upon our old numbers but we soon felt so out of
date that we subscribed again for a three years' term.
It would take a much longer letter to fully express our
appreciation of your magazine.—F. W. Donaldson, Pennsylvania.
a Subscriber to The Garden
Magazine I have gleaned a great many useful hints in gardening from
it and would commend it to all amateurs in gardening. I have a small home in
this little growing hamlet and have planned many little ways to make its
surroundings pleasing to myself. May your useful magazine continue in the
future as valu7able as it has been in the past.—Samuel O. Hedges,
A Compulsory Gardener.—Being one of the obsessionists who simply
have to garden in the compulsory, Kipling, sense, I find the guidance
of The Garden Magazine most
helpful, and increasingly valuable from year to year. And now comes the
pleasure of meeting Mrs. Wilder in the January issue. It makes one wish for
more! Mrs. Wilder can make a Poppy note delightful.—A. R., New York.