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My War on Ajuga and… Predicng the Future

I

thought it was a lovely lile plant 10 years ago. It had stowed-away with a few perennials a friend gave me which I was eager to plant in my new garden. My knowledge of gardening and plants wasn’t, and sll isn’t, very extensive, but based on looks alone, this innocent lile plant was quite welcome to stay. It had a few lile friends with it, I noced, but what the heck, the more the merrier! Within a few years, the sweet lile plant had easily managed to cover the area between my perennials, and it was really prey. Its dark green/purplish leaves created a thick ground cover, filled empty spaces beaufully and there were lovely purple flowers that shot up above. Sure, there were a few sneaking out into our lawn on all sides of the garden, but how bad could it get? They just got mowed over anyway, and we aren’t fussy about what our lawn looks like. “…do not be lulled into a false sense of security by the sweet music it plays in the landscape!” [www. thespruce.com] Over the years, the plant established a robust mul-generaonal

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family that loved to travel, stretching out tendrils and sending down sturdy roots as fast as a Labrador Retriever can inhale her meal. It wasn’t such an issue in the garden, but the lawn was

definitely starng to get transformed. In a bad way. Last year: I finally realized that I had to do something about this now obviously invasive plant, but I made yet another fatal error: I thought it deserved a second chance. I moved it from one garden to another. This second garden bordered on woods, so I figured it would be okay if it traveled that way, and it was prey far from the lawn. This year: I finally came to the realizaon that this formerly-innocent plant had an ulterior move: to take over the world. Yes, it had liked moving into the woods, but the speed with which it not only did that but also invaded the enre garden and the adjoining lawn was awe-inspiring. Of course, it never really le the first garden, either. I decided that it had to go. Every bit of it. Ajuga is a formidable opponent. Not wanng to use harsh chemicals that could harm desirable plants or poison the earth, I set out to get rid of the stuff forever, by hand, no maer how long it would take me. I tackled each individual plant, trying to dig up every bit of every one I came across. There were thousands of them. I had let the stuff proliferate for so long that it’s going to be a lifelong pursuit to maintain control over it. No maer how many I remove, there are

inevitably some that I missed and they will eventually become problemac. “Life is like a piece of crumpled paper and every crease on that paper is a habit.” [Diana Logan] No maer how hard you try to break a habit, to smooth that crease and return it to its original state, a shadow of that habit will sll remain. It’s best to avoid creases we don’t want reemerging at some later date. The lesson I learned is that I should have consulted a knowledgeable person for advice. Had I done so, I would have saved myself years of work… and it would have resulted in a nicer garden, too. A professional would have been able to see the future, warn me against falling for the charm of this delighul plant and suggest alternaves. Sure, it’s a fine plant for some, in some situaons, but you have to know what you are doing. How does this pertain to dog training? Lots! As a professional dog trainer, I oen see what are considered cute lile behaviors being rewarded in some way; behaviors that are sure to grow into weeds that will be very difficult to extricate. What “seeds” might you be planng with your dog? Are they seeds for behaviors that will be useful in the future or might they fall into the not-so-desirable once they are well-established? Behavior is a garden. Nourish those you want to thrive.

Diana Logan, CPDT-KA Cerfied Professional Dog Trainer, Knowledge-Assessed Pet Connecon Dog Training, North Yarmouth, Maine | www.dianalogan.com | 207-252-9352

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2019 September Downeast Dog News  

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