If a friend offers to bring you some mint for your garden, go to the closet, get your AK-47 (OK, if you don’t have one, borrow a neighbor’s), and stop him/her from setting foot on your property.
You may lose a friend, but you will save yourself major grief.
Oh, I know, a sprig of fragrant mint is a nice touch for a glass of iced tea or lemonade in the summer, and it sends out a nice scent when one brushes against it walking through the yard.
But it is evil incarnate.
If you’ve ever made the mistake of planting mint in anything other than an inch thick steel container from which it cannot possibly escape, you know whereof I speak. One can never have just a little mint.
One of the follies of buying someone else’s house is that one also inherits all the problems they didn’t tell you about in their eagerness to unload the place, including their choices in plant material.
When we bought our current house four years ago, there was a patch of mint ‘way in the back yard by the fence. I made the mistake of ignoring it.
The @#$%^* stuff spreads like crazy, forming an underground root system that 100-year old oaks would envy. Those roots mat together, and if you attempt to pull them up, they just break, leaving bits and pieces everywhere in the soil, waiting to send new runners in every direction.
You may have the worst soil in the universe, as I do (another thing I neglected to check out before buying this place), and mint will make itself right at home, send up sprigs three feet tall, all the while spreading thither and yon, including under the fence into your neighbor’s yard (who may come after you with his own AK-47).
It will spread into bermudagrass, it will wind its way around the roots of shrubs and other plants and into cracks in the sidewalk. If you attempt to dig it up, you also must dig up everything else in order to remove the mint’s roots.
It just laughs at weed killers. “Ha, ha,” it chortles. “You fool: not only did you waste your chemical, you wasted the time it took to spray, and in the meantime I’m claiming more territory.”
I spent the better part of a morning, in horrid heat/humidity, trying to dig out the inherited mint that had multiplied manyfold. I was encased in dirt, soaked with sweat, and had three large garbage bags crammed full of mint roots (the above-ground parts, which I had cut earlier, filled several more garbage bags).
If nuclear Armageddon comes and the earth is covered in radioactive dust a foot deep, mint will still be here, glowing eerily in the dark ... and spreading, spreading, spreading.
Anybody have some napalm I could borrow?