In a previous post about weeds, I mentioned one called Herb Robert, or Geranium robertianum. I feel a little sorry for whichever Robert it’s named for, since the other common name is Stinky Bob.
It’s a cute little member of the geranium family which escaped from gardens and has taken over a lot of space, at least in my area (Pacific Northwest). A few at a time are easy to pull up, but if they take over a large area, they choke out the native plants and it’s hard to get rid of. Plus, the smell is really unpleasant; I’m not sure what to compare it to – that rotting container of leftovers that got lost at the back of the fridge for too long, maybe? It’s not really like anything else I’ve ever smelled, for which I suppose I should be thankful. The odor stays on your hands after you touch the plant too, so it should be handled with gloves.
Here’s a photo of one in my garden, just before I ripped it out. It looks kind of nice at the edge of the path with the sarcococca, too bad it’s a weed.
It likes to hide in spaces that are hard for me to get to, like the top of the rock wall in back of the papyrus blades that always cut me up if I forget to wear long sleeves around them. This one is turning pretty fall colors and has probably already distributed a ton of seeds for next spring.
It hasn’t made it down to my parking strip yet, maybe it likes the part shade of the upper garden better. In any case, don’t let its adorable little pink flowers (not visible in my photos), delicate foliage or funny, furry reddish stems fool you into thinking it’s a nice groundcover. Yank it out before it takes over the universe!