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Monday, May 07, 2007

Plant Sale, 5 days away

Is it invasive?

(Campanula punctata with daylily 'Tune the Harp', how could you resist this fast growing perennial, I sure can't.)

One thing you learn quickly as a gardener is that some things grow slowly, some grow quickly and some take over your whole yard. I get a real kick out of the garden centers that sell these thugs and put the words "vigorous grower" on the tag. Heck, you might as well put your house on the market after planting some of these things.

Of course Mother nature has the last laugh here, some of those oh so aggressive growers are also stunningly beautiful. For instance, Lysamachia clethroides, (Gooseneck loosestrife) is a plant that I adore, must have it in the garden but it would take over the whole town of Huntington if I let it run rampent. There are no pots here of this type of loosestrife but I will dig you a piece if you ask.

(You can see the gooseneck loosestrife here behind the daylily 'Kathryn June Woods')

Another type of Lysamachia is the purple form, Lysamachia purpurea. The foliage in the spring is the most luscious deep purple and I wouldn't be without this beauty in the garden. Yes, it does run around but it's also not too hard to dig up those runners so I live with it. We have some of these in pots, I've found this plant to be wonderful when planted in perennial containers that are left out all winter (such as whiskey barrels). It also grows well out by the street where it's hit with sand all winter and the tree roots are horrendous.

(Here you can see the dark luscious foliage on the Lysamachia purpurea, a welcome color in the garden but it is more than vigorous, maybe aggressive?)

The first year we had this plant sale I dug up a few pieces of Rudbeckia laciniata. It had been a gift from a gardening friend the year before and had increased nicely. I really liked this plant, it is a tall growing (5 or 6 feet tall) black eyed susan. Unfortunately one year later I realized that it was EVERYWHERE! Oh woe is me, I dug out every piece I could find and I still find an occasional one popping up here and there. I cringe when I think that I loosed this thug to other gardeners. Hence, I only offer plants that have been grown here for many years and who's plant habits I am sure about. If I think something is fast growing, vigorous or even aggressive, you can bet the plant tag will tell you this information.

(People are afraid to buy Monarda (Bee Balm) because it's in the mint family and grows very quickly. Monarda roots are right at the top of the soil and I find them extremely to remove if I feel it's outgrown it's bounderies. I'm just crazy about this flower and so are butterflies!)

Some plants spread by casting seeds. These are the easiest to control, just cut off the blooms when they are finished blooming. Bronze fennel was one plant that seeded too much for me but I really loved having a few of these beauties around. Unfortunately, this winter was the kiss of death for all my bronze fennel, each and every last clump is gone and now I wish I had let it go to seed last year.

(Both the Echinacea (purple coneflower) and the Liatris in this photo will send out seeds if you leave the dead flower head on the plant. Both also attract Goldfinch to the garden so I leave those dead heads right where they are!)

Other well known seeders are Echinacea (purple cone flowers) and Rudbeckia fulgida (black eyed Susans). I could cut those spent blooms off to keep them from seeding around but the Goldfinch just adore them and I'd much rather see the birds in my garden and deal with some seedlings.

Hopefully it's warming up out there. 40's this morning was a bit too cool but I'm gearing up to grab my shovel and start some more digging. Today I'm scrounging around for Foxgloves and Corydalis. In the past we've had pots and pots of those beauties but I'm thinking that we over dug those. This year they are few and far between and I need to leave a good amount in the garden so they will seed out lots more babies for future plant sales.

See you Saturday!

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