Wednesday, September 23, 2009

You Don’t Know Elaeagnus Like I Know Elaeagnus!

It’s almost fall and one of the things I love most about this time of year is that my Elaeagnus is in bloom.

Eleaegnus is one of my most favorite shrubs (it’s also known as Russian olive), because it’s evergreen, so it’s great for screening. It also has beautiful silvery-green leaves. But the best thing about it is its fragrant blossoms, and now is when it’s in bloom. Starting in late September the shrubs fill the air with the most wonderful aroma. Few things bloom in fall so this is quite a treat. Plus, unlike privet or some other flowering shrubs which lean toward the noxious, Elaeagnus is a little spicy. I just love it.

So imagine my shock when I learned that landscapers can no longer sell Elaeagnus. Apparently the Tennessee Dept. of Agriculture has listed Elaeagnus as an “invasive” species and retail sale has been banned; landscapers must sell off all their existing stock, and wholesalers will be banned from selling it after next year. So excuse me while I run out and buy a big shrub to fill the giant hole in front of my house.


Okay, I’m back. Apparently the TN Dept. of Agriculture issued this list of banned non-native plants: privet is on the list, as are varieties of honeysuckle and mimosa.

I have no problem trying to control invasive, exotic plant species: look how kudzu has decimated the landscape down in Alabama. I just object to Elaeagnus being lumped into the “invasive” category.

I’ve had Elaeagnus for close to 10 years. The stuff is the antithesis of invasive. It grows tall, sure. But it doesn’t send out shoots like bamboo. It doesn’t propagate like some plants do. It stays put. You don’t need a freaking blow torch to keep it from taking over the yard as you do with honeysuckle or privet.

So I can’t imagine what the TDA was thinking by lumping my beloved Elaeagnus in with aggressive colonizers like privet or honeysuckle. I mean come on already!

In the meantime, my internet is down so I'm taking advantage of the free WiFi offered by our wonderful Nashville Public Library system. Don't know when I'll be back to regular blogging.