Spring Great Plants this Month

Melica uniflora f. albida AGM – wood melic

image of Louise Sims
Louise Sims

‘Dainty’, ‘delightful’, ‘quietly attractive’, ‘trendy’, ‘slow spreading’, ‘neat clumps’, ‘likes damp shade’. All these descriptions are to be found when you google this gorgeous looking woodland grass, and doesn’t it sound just the job?

As it’s often used in Chelsea show gardens, I bet a lot of people have rushed out to buy it. And, being Chelsea week, this is a good time to mention its less than attractive habit! So, I would add one last adjective to that very seductive sounding list, and that is (for us at least) – invasive! It really should be sold with a warning.

Yes, it is dainty and delightful, and I totally fell for it when we bought it over a decade ago. But slow spreading it is not and nor does it grow in neat clumps; the clumps spread and it self seeds everywhere! Yes it likes damp shade, but it also likes dry sunny areas. The hint is in the name; woodlanders tend to take over, so if you must have it, then put it in the wildest part of your garden and, for a couple of years at least, it will remain there!

My husband and I once spent a whole morning clearing a square metre of this little charmer because it wouldn’t tolerate any neighbours – in the end we had to resort to a mattock to remove the concrete like slabs of melica roots and to this day I am still finding the seedlings! So don’t say you weren’t warned ….

NB Louise has published a beautifully produced book of her plant profiles – A Plant for Each Week of the Year. It costs £9.99 and is for sale in our online shop here.

More NB If you’re not already a subscriber and you’d like a bit more gardening chitchat from the3growbags, please type your email address here and we’ll send you a new post every Saturday morning.

By the3growbags

We're three sisters who love gardening, plants and even the science of horticulture but we're not all experts. We'd love everyone even remotely interested in their gardens to be part of our blogsite.

9 replies on “Melica uniflora f. albida AGM – wood melic”

Thank you, Louise, for this warning.
There are plenty of similar pretty ‘horrors’ around like this Mellica without unwittingly adding to them…

When considering a new plant, I always search the plant name + invasive. Interesting to see what comes up.
A friend had some RHS wild garlic seeds (yes, RHS I couldn’t believe it), and I was able to send her a link to the RHS article describing how invasive they were…..

Thanks Janie, Joanna and Barbara!
Admittedly it might just be that this lovely grass feels particularly at home here in West Sussex, but worth pointing out I felt.
And yes, in this most beautiful of months, we already have enough to contend with without unwittingly introducing another potential coloniser!
Happy gardening!

Beware briza media as well. Someone on the BBC coverage recommended it and although I shouted loudly at the screen they didn’t edit the comment out!
I pulled out half a bin full last week and there’s nearly as much still to do.

Hello Margaret, Laura here and I had trouble with that little grass taking over as well, but one good thing about the bitter winter cold here in West Sussex seems to be that it killed it off completely! No sign of it anywhere yet … every cloud has a silver lining! Best wishes and thanks for your comment Laura

That’s a lovely to hear John – if we can raise a smile or two and share our fun then it makes it all worth it ! We love Chelsea in all it’s ridiculous facets .. best wishes Laura

That’s lovely to hear John – if we can raise a smile or two and share our fun then it makes it all worth it ! We love Chelsea in all it’s ridiculous facets .. best wishes Laura

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.