If it hasn’t reached you yet, beware. It will. This invasive plant was introduced – from the Himalayas, obviously – as an attractive addition to the English garden in 1839, and now seems to be marching inexorably round the country, destroying all plants in its path – yes, ANY plant. Even roughy-toughies like rosebay willow herb and brambles are powerless to stand against it.
The other day, I went with a friend on a favourite walk along the River Nidd. It’s a gorgeous path, through typical English woodland, with the river rippling and tumbling alongside. Not any more, not where we were. Himalayan balsam has invaded huge stretches of the walk – it prefers to be near water – and we found ourselves marching between shoulder-high sentinels of the wretched thing, unable any longer either to see the trees and undergrowth, nor enjoy either the riverside views or those of the meadows opposite.
And in town today, walking down a little ginnel where, when I was at work, I used to collect blackberries in my lunch hour to make into jellies and jams(how sad….but it made me happy) there was not a bramble bush in sight, just That Balsam.
If it’s planning an invasion near you, martial your forces. This plant will fight, smother and strangle every bit of vegetation in its path, and conquer yard after yard of ground with every passing year. You must join battle against it the very first time you see some of its – quite attractive – pink flowers . Or it will win the war and continue its despotic rule.