Goodbye, Mahonia…

One of my favorite plants is on the Maryland Invasive Plant list: Mahonia bealei, aka ‘Leatherleaf Mahonia’ or ‘False Holly’ or ‘Oregon Grape Holly’

When I go to a client’s garden and see a Burning Bush, Euonymus alatus, I have to explain that birds eat the seeds of this shrub and those seeds end up in our parks, sprouting and growing to stifle out the native woodland plants so important to our eco-system’s wildlife. Invasive plants that berry and spread via wildlife are the worst bullies and we all need to pull them if we want our woodlands to be able to support the diversity of wildlife that belongs here.

I know how it feels to pull a plant you love that is growing beautifully. However there are some great alternatives to these invasives that we can get equally excited about.

In my garden, I’ve swapped the Mahonia for a Corkscrew Willow: and am looking forward to cutting the branches for floral arrangements this winter.

Want an alternative for a Burning Bush? Try Chokeberry- Aronia arbutifolia:, which has the added benefit of being native, producing edible berries and great fall color.