A Garden Thug – My Garden Odyssey

Things are progressing in the garden, though we’re still along way from any serious planting. It’s been good to get the fruit trees pruned and one small bed cleared but there’s still so much to do! Feeling overwhelmed I decide to start small. I’ll pick a spot to weed and see what it looks like once it’s cleared. I like weeding. There’s something soothing about clearing a patch of feisty invaders and wondering what might go in their place. I start with a garden thug known as Arum Italicum. There’s some great info about it here


It’s an attractive plant, looks a bit like an arum lily, only darker green with a cream line in its leaves. I rather liked it and had even transferred some to another garden bed. BIG mistake. HUGE! Little did I know that this innocuous looking lily was actually a noxious weed feared by gardeners everywhere. When I finally showed the plant to an experienced gardening friend, he scowled. ‘That’s Arum Italicum, commonly known as Italian arum or elephant’s ears – bloody horrible thing.’

A Garden Thug - NEVER plant Arum Italicum
A Garden Thug – NEVER plant Arum Italicum

A Garden Thug – NEVER plant Arum Italicum

‘So how do you get rid of it?’

He laughed. ‘How much have you got?’

‘It’s in most of the garden beds.’

‘You’ll need to dig it out. Make sure you lift the whole thing though. Roots, tuber, bulbs and all.’


I went home, dug up an arum italicum and immediately I could see the problem. Attached to the fat brown tuber at the base of the stalk were lots of little round bulbs. I touched one gently and instantly it popped off and fell into the soil.

Huh. I looked down the bed at the mass of plants. I think this is going to take a while …

Arum Italicum with its tiny babies ready to grow
Arum Italicum with its tiny babies ready to grow

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2 thoughts on “A Garden Thug – My Garden Odyssey”

  1. A film of Bridgette Heyer’s work is long overdue. She wrote such witty romances that ,combined with costume drama. what is the BBC waiting for?.

    I too have the equivalent of the dreaded arum. Its Ground Elder. At least You were Told Perseverance And Digging it All Up Would Get Rid If It. I Was Told The Only Way To Be Rid Of Ground Elder Was To Let A Pig Loose In Your Garden For A Couple Of seasons!!

    1. A pig sounds wonderful! I believe they’re really smart. Have you read Miss Buncle’s Book by D E Stevenson – it has a wonderful character who struggles with ground elder. I’m so glad we don’t have it here – arum italicum and oxalis are bad enough!

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