Tuesday, August 04, 2009


When I moved here, I was told -- by someone who should have known better -- that the bush in my yard was a ti-ti. Now the ti-ti is an attractive small native tree of the area and does have a similar appearance, but grows mostly in marshy areas, not on higher ground (I'm on a bit of a ridge, which is why the well is over 300 ft deep!). Actually, the bush is a Japanese Privet (Ligustrum, if you must).

Privet has gone wild and become an invasive species all over the Florida Panhandle. It grows vigorously along all the roadsides around here. There are a lot of invasive plants in Florida -- down in the south where I grew up, we had Brazilian Pepper, Australian Pines, Melaleuca (which we called 'Cajeputs' when I was a kid) and now there is exotic fauna, as well, parrots and pythons and walking catfish (oh my!).

Not that it's all bad. I reckon the privet is here to stay and it does grow easily, so I'm not above planting more of it around my place. It certainly seems to do better than the stuff I've bought for this purpose, Siberian Elms and other trees. I really want a bit of a screen out front (Peanut Road is pretty busy, lots of log trucks, farm equipment etc going up and down it). There are some other plants that might do well and spread themselves -- I finally got some Butterfly Bush (Buddleia) growing this year and I know it can be invasive in more temperate climates. I do suspect that it's a little too hot here for that to happen.

There are also the Nandinas. They're good in the shady areas and will spread on their own. Very low maintenance and perhaps a good choice for some erosion control on my slopes. I've a planter box full of them, ready to set out in the Fall. In the mean time, I'll keep the privet and probably plant more of it in my 'problem areas.' Btw, the little fruits are mildly toxic, so don't eat 'em! (you still alive, Abby?)

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