Given half a chance some beguiling plants could take over the garden, so be sure to steer clear of them. I freely admit I’ve fallen victim to a plant’s charms and spent years trying to control or eradicate it.

They’re often, but not exclusively, native species that take full advantage of our “lush” garden conditions where they can spread much more widely than in the wild.

Unsurprisingly, a few retailers use seemingly harmless common names to encourage you to choose them. Take ramsons or wild garlic, above, Allium ursinum, with lush leaves and a blaze of beautiful white flowers in spring. They’re a cook’s delight with useful leaves and delicious flowers to adorn a salad. Some retailers admittedly describe their spread as “indefinite” and ye gods, it is. To be safe, corral this allium in a pot placed in partial shade and quickly remove any seedlings that may have spread.

Avoid like the plague any plant where its spread is described as “indefinite” or a similar word. Another allium, Allium triquetrum, the three-cornered leek or snowbell, is just as bad. It spreads like wildfire by seed and bulb and it’s an offence to plant in the wild, so do you really want it? One supplier gives the game away by saying: “You can let it loose in your garden where there is space for it to run riot.”

Bulbs are often the worst offenders. Take the delightful Star of Bethlehem, Ornithogalum umbellatum. Yes, I fell victim to its charms and planted it in grass, only to find it emerge in beds. It’s been an endless battle trying to remove the bulbs without damaging plants I want.

Accidentally putting these tiny bulbs and those of lesser celandine or Spanish bluebells in the compost bin is all too easy. It’s worth losing a small amount of soil by consigning these guys to landfill.

Alchemilla mollis, lady’s mantle, is generously endowed with seed: you’ll find its colonists anywhere in the garden, including cracks in the paving. If allowed to develop this Alchemilla will produce large woody crowns that are almost impossible to remove. This beautiful specimen will carpet ground where all others would fail, but there is a dangerous reason for its success.

Alchemilla mollis is an apomict, meaning the seeds are formed asexually from the maternal tissues of the ovule so seedlings are all genetically identical, making it a very easy species to cultivate.

There are about 250 species of Alchemillas, many of which are not thugs and have as pretty leaves as mollis.

And that’s the point. With an unknown species, don’t impulse buy or take from a friend without finding out its Latin name and checking whether it will be suitable for your garden.

This can especially applies to bamboos and brambles.

Plant of the week

Rosa spinosissima ‘Falkland’ is a Burnet rose with pretty lilac pink semi-double flowers. Like all spinosissimas it thrives in well drained and even dry conditions: species spinosissimas will grow naturally at the back of sand dunes or out of scree. ‘Falkland’ has attractive, small, almost fern-like leaves and makes a good hedging plant; I cut ours with a hedge-trimmer. It will sucker but these can be mown off in neighbouring grass or dug up as root cuttings to make more plants.