When we work to mimic nature we tend to challenge conventional backyard gardening techniques. One advantage in permaculture is being able to advantage a desired existing plant over an unwanted plant. We experienced this with a patch of chives that were growing among daylilies around a large rock in our back yard. These chives were often used in my mother’s cooking, which always included fresh herbs, often from her backyard.
Early in the spring I observed that the chives were being overrun by daylilies that had also been planted around the same rock. Over several weeks, I simply cut back every daylily growing among the chives. The key is to cut back the unwanted species close to the ground, and then mulch over top of what you have cut back. I left plenty of space for the daylily to occupy away from the chives (for now).
The result is the chive patch has now become dominant in the space. This was achieved without attempting to dig up all the unwanted daylilies and removing valuable biomass from the soil. It is most important to avoid spraying chemicals to kill the plant species you are looking to disadvantage. This would damage the soil’s health. Over time the daylilies will continue to spread, and they will wage their battle for space around the rock. But permaculture, as is nature, is not fair. I will continue to advantage the chive at every opportunity and introduce other useful plants in this space.