01 June 2008

Woodsy Stinker

The Ligustrum shrub (ligustrum japonicum) or evergreen privet is now in full bloom. There were four found around the property when purchased, and all were relocated to one area. After recently being trimmed and trained into small multi-trunk trees, they are now about 10 feet tall (3 m). Since they are located just outside windows, the smell of the late-spring flowers has filtered throughout the house. The very strong odor is not objectionable, but not pleasant either. One person identified it as 'woodsy.'

Research indicates that many types of Ligustrum are invasive, but none of the fallen berries have ever produced plants in this yard. Birds do not touch the black berries in the fall or winter, but will take them in the spring. Early one spring, a commotion was heard in the shrubs. After investigation, 16 robins were found in the shrubs, fighting over the berries. Maybe this is why they never fell and grew here with robins picking them off like M&M's. I thought Robins were ethnic - into the bugs and grubs type of food - not seeds.

The flowers last about a week or two, and eventually turn an unattractive brown before dropping. This, along with the tendency of some leaves to die and drop throughout the summer does not make them a favorite in the garden. They are kept around for their form and rich, lush, deep evergreen leaves. Maybe they would make great greens at Christmas?

For The Record:
  • Growing in heavy clay soil, full sun
  • No fertilizer
  • Drops dead blooms and leaves in summer
  • Have not found to be invasive

Garden Calendar:
  • Blooming: poppies, calendula, purple salvia, geranium,
    nicotiana, foxglove
  • Tomatoes staked
  • Lifted alliums to relocate in the fall