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We moved at the end of last year and our new garden is well established. I have been told that there is a plant called Monkshood in one of the beds and having read a little about it on the internet I'm now quite concerned and would like to get rid of it as I have small children who like to explore the garden. I know the area it is in but not sure what it will look like when it starts to grow this year. What do I do? Wait until I see the flower and dig it out or try to work out what the leaf looks like and dig it out then? Can I then be sure it won't come back again or does it have seeds which might spread? Any advice very gratefully received!
May we have a look at your monkshood pictures?
Hi Silvo, This is a photo of the Monkshood (Aconitum napellus) that was in my garden, I loved this plant and so did the bees, but due to having puppies in the garden, I decided I'd better remove it as they have a tendancy to chew anything and everything.
If it's anything like mine was, it probably will be growing well away by now. All I did was dig a good area around the base, and then leaver it out with a fork. Just make sure you wear gloves when you're handling it, as it is very poisonous. But as long as you get all the roots out I don't think it'll come back again. I've not had any seedlings appear from mine yet. Have a look here for more info about it and a good photo of the leaves.
These aren't brilliant photos, but at least they might give you an idea of what to look for in terms of leaves.
I have grown several forms of Monkshood and many other plants which are toxic if ingested since we started this garden and I've also brought up a child who has progressed to late teenhood with no gardening disasters. If you remove all potentially harmful plants you'll be left with very little - thorns, stings, harmful sap, berries, pollen, foliage and roots.
Far better in my view to teach the children respect for plants and borders and to be wary of possible harm - like learning to look before they cross a road and not talking to strangers without their mum.
If you must remove them, just pull or dig them up but ask your neighbours first if they'd lik ethem and then do it carefully. Bees love the flowers and they're a valuable garden plant. Otherwise, put the plants on the compost heap and make sure you wash your hands after touching them.