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Dangerous Liaisons
Dec 1, 2002

You know the story Ö fall in love with a tall, handsome stranger. But all is not as it seems. At first things go well, but before long the true character is revealed. What follows is a tragic tale of misguided love, redeemed only by the timely intervention of friends. If only youíd listened to your motherís sound advice. Now is your chance to recompense and heed some advice about dastardly lovers Ė or at least the botanical equivalent; weeds.

Take for example, Mexican daisy (Erigeron karvinskianus). Most gardeners will know this tale: you pick it up at a roadside stall; it looks beautiful Ė all delicate foliage and oh-so-pretty pink and white petals. You take it home, lay it in the bedding, and things are going well. You feel that you are laying the foundations for a long and secure relationship. You introduce it to your friends and let everyone share in your joy. But then, suddenly, itís taking over. You have to fight for breathing space for the other plants in your life. You canít even visit a friend without it hanging around. You decide to take time out, and go for a stroll along the river. Ah, yes: the burbling water, the pleasant bank, the pretty rockery, and Ė the wretched daisy. Is there no escape?

In the case of Mexican daisy, the authorities have been called in, and it is now a nationally banned plant. This means that it is illegal to distribute, sell or propagate. If youíve still got it hanging around your place, your best bet is to take the plunge and cleanse it from your life. You can cut off the stems and branches and compost them (avoid doing this when itís seeding), or you can control it with chemical Ė just contact your Regional Council for advice. If you canít bear to take such drastic measures be very sure that it is not spreading anywhere and that itís not escaping from your garden.

By Amber Bill