Petasites japonicus is a perfect example of how I don’t listen to my garden friends, and do everything wrong, but make myself happy--in the short run. These are just blooming now; I had forgotten I put them in late last fall. They came from the beloved Ed Bowen of Opus Plants in Rhode Island. Be careful, he said sternly, knowing by now that I would not listen. He warned me that the plant gets large. I am sure I snorted (privately of course), as I believe all men tell you things are large--fish, jobs, dreams--and I find they exaggerate.
Yesterday I found these looking so dainty, only about six inches up off the ground. They seemed to have popped up overnight. Naturally I couldn’t remember what they were so I emailed Ed. Then I looked them. I’m a bit frightened. Japanese butterbur is meant for large gardens (not mine by a long shot) because they spread via vigorous rhizomes, and their leaves are not large, they are gigantic.
They will smother everything around them. When I planted them after a summer of weeding, I’m sure I had a murderous smothering urge, but that’s faded. Looks like another episode of Plants on Wheels. I promise to believe everything men tell me from now on, particularly men of the gardening variety.
Photo from UBC Botanical Garden