Wednesday, June 2, 2010
Weeds or Free Plants?
Spring is inching into summer, the weather is warming up and the weeds are growing like, well, weeds. My response to weeds is a three step process. Step 1) identify weed, Step 2) decide if the weed is a problem or not and Step 3) if the weed is a problem mechanically remove it (by hand or by hoe or by the hand of the Garden Hoe [me]).
I've been out looking at the seedlings that are popping up in the garden. I've got plenty of these.
These are Liatris. It's a very distinctive seedling, you can see the two tiny seed leaves and the first true leaf that looks almost like a blade of grass. I'm leaving some of them and pulling others, depending on where they show up. I could prevent this problem by being more diligent with the dead heading but the birds will eat the seeds. Plus I wanted more of these in the garden. Verdict? Free Plants and Weeds.
Here's another volunteer.
These are Labrador Violets (Viola labradorica). They were not too prolific and I was so pleased with these last year that I decided I did want more. I'll move them around next Spring to spread them around the garden. Verdict? Free Plants!
Now these are common violets, sometimes called wild violets, sometimes called dooryard violets. I don't mind a lot of these around the garden. They can work as a "green mulch" when the density gets high enough. At my last house the deer preferentially ate these over my other garden plants. Also, even as adult plants they are easy to remove. Verdict? Free Plants!
Here's one of my favorite weeds. This is a columbine (Aqueligia). Probably A. canadensis based on the location. This is a very nice native plant that reseeds sparsely. I always enjoy watching the new plant combinations that can form unexpectedly when they pop up. Verdict? Wonderful Free Plants!
So far we're coming in on the free plants side of things. Is there anything I consider a weed to be removed? Well, yes, grass in the garden beds. But I didn't photograph THAT. Here are some more Free Plants.
These are Gaura seedlings. I had three varieties last summer, one didn't survive the winter but there are plenty of seedlings to pick up the slack.
Here's a Purple Clover that cropped up in the lawn. Great for nitrogen fixing and great for pollinators.
I've got several volunteers of the Viola family. My next door neighbor gets these all through her yard and it looks great until they mow them down.
Free marigolds anyone?
Ok. These are definitely weeds. I guess I missed a tomato when I was cleaning up the garden last fall. Look at all the seedlings. I'll take a hoe to these soon.
Slowing down in the garden, giving myself time to think before I weed gets me - Free Plants. Hard to complain about that!