Friday, June 26

Who needs a gardener?

Back in October I took this photograph of the pear bed on the allotment.
To many this would look like a neglected bed about to be over-run by weeds.


In January it looked very similar.



Now the bed  looks like this.
Without any help from me the bed has turned into a sea of white and lilac.
Millions of self sown candytuft seeds have jostled for power with the strongest producing a carpet of flowers.

Although I had to pull out a handful if weeds for the most part the dense covering of seedlings kept the weeds at bay.
Again with no help from me, tulips and later poppies muscled their way through.
Later my only part in this performance will be to clear away the dead stems and shake out the seeds for the whole process to be repeated next year.

Elsewhere on the  plot are self sown foxgloves.
With these self sowers I have a slightly larger role as I move any young plants growing in unsuitable places to more appropriate spots.
This year I am trying to raise some digitalis alba from seed and they seem reluctant to germinate and yet they will germinate in the roughest of places on the plot.
I can't help but be amazed that a dust-like seed that germinates into a tiny seedling, not only survives but grows into such a stately plant.
Then there are the self sufficient plants in the garden that install themselves in the most unlikely of places.

Verbena bonariensis has established itself in gaps between the paving blocks under the front window.

Close by using the same trick a hardy geranium has installed itself by the front doorstep.
In the back garden plants appear from nowhere. A clump of white aquilegias have colonised the base of the trachycarpus. Not only is the 'ground' here  solid but no aquilegias have ever grown anywhere near and I have never had any white ones in the garden.

It isn't a place where I would have thought to plant aquilegias but they happily come up every year and it works so I leave them to get on with it. 

Then there was this little poppy that seemed to instinctively know to pop up in the new yellow and red border where it would be allowed to stay.
Some plants arrive in the wrong place but just have to be allowed to stay - like this daphne which over the years has grown into a beautiful shrub.
I could go on to describe many more examples of nature taking control. I don't think we gardeners are redundant just yet but sometimes nature does do things better.


Copyright: Original post from Our Plot at Green Lane Allotments http://glallotments.blogspot.co.uk/ 
author S Garrett

30 comments:

  1. I do wish I knew nature's secret. So many seeds that I try to germinate fail in open ground and yet we are overrun with foxgloves, welsh poppies and grasses that seed themselves freely. What is she doing right that I am not?

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    1. She's using super fresh seed, Jessica - we are on our third attempt to get the white foxglove to germinate

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  2. Ive done some scatter seeding! "Bees and butterflies country garden" type stuff. In one spot, the random spare ground in the chicken run, up they came like nobodies business! On the prepared flower bed, ready for a beautiful display....nowt!! Funny little monsters! :)

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    1. I think they just play with us Rosie,

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  3. The candytuft bed looks wonderful, how long will it go on blooming for? I've had a couple of attempts at getting foxgloves to germinate in the past without success so I bought a plant last year, it's blooming away now, and so are another couple of newly self sown plants in the front garden, I needn't have parted with my money.

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    1. I did grow the original fogxloves from seed years ago, Jo but these white ones are testing us, I wonder whether I ought to have chilled them.

      The self sown candytuft starts flowering before the batch that I sow in the annual flower bed and deadhead, here it lasts throughout July. The self sown flowers main display is throughout June. I don;t dead head these as I want plenty of seed to set but a sprinkling of flowers keeps popping up throughout summer

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  4. Self sown flowers seem to do so much better than those I plant myself. I even have had several flowering shrubs self sow. Last year I transplanted one (a Diablo Ninebark) to a new bed I created at the side of our property and it actually survived our horrid winter...surprise surprise.

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    1. i'd have never tried growing a daphne from seed Margaret but the birds succeeded.

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  5. I wish the flowers that I plant would do as well as the self sown ones. I'm fighting with a rudbeckia that wants to migrate into a place I don't want it. It is hard for me to pull it out though as it is so pretty.

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    1. My problem is self sown hardy geranium, Daphne

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  6. Brilliant Sue what a peach of a picture the candytuft flowers

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    1. Thank you David to be honest the photos don't do it justice. The effect is scaled down.

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  7. The beautiful stands of flowers are a tribute to your weed control Sue and not letting weeds seed. Most gardens contain so many weed seeds such seed establishment of desirable plants is impossible. I could almost take you for a no dig gardener not bringing buried weed seed to the surface :)

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    1. We don't dig permanently planted beds or the fruit beds, Roger. The only tools used on it as a Dutch hoe once the dead candytuft is cleared. Any weeds are either hand weeded or I use a hand fork. We only dig veggie beds, Maybe we are semi no dig,

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  8. It sometimes seems that the harder you try to get seeds to germinate, the less likely they are to respond! Nature evidently has its own plan...

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    1. That is why nature is a she, Mark :)

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  9. What a fabulous post. Plants just want to grow don't they. I particularly like that white aquilegia. There's something mysterious coming up by my little pond. I'm interested to see what it will be. I had a fantastic foxglove growing out of the concrete around the allotment shed this year. I couldn't have grown one there on purpose, but somehow up it popped.

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    1. It's one of the benefits of knowing what is not a weed seedling CJ and leaving it be.

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  10. So lush, so colorful! I like your ' white and lilac carpet'! Sometimes, self sown plants are more stronger.

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  11. Wonderful Sue, nothing more satisfying than letting nature take its course and still feeling that we were in control all the time :-)

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    1. Or does she control us, Rick?

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  12. Nature really is amazing isn'r it and the candytuft looks wonderful!

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    1. She did a good job there, Lisa.

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  13. I am a bit of weed control nazi and dont often find self sown plants. It's a habit I should try to break, I could be missing out on some of natures natural planting schemes.
    Love the candytuff bed, mother nature knows best!

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    1. If I don't recognise a seedling as a weed I leave it to grow before deciding whether it should come out, Angie

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  14. I love self sown seedlings and allow as many as I can to stay put. Often they grow in just the right place and they seem to cope with dry spells much better than the ones I plant out.

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    1. I don't know how the ones in the paving survive. Patsy.

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  15. It's great when plants grow instead of weeds! That looks gorgeous now! The size of seed compared to the size of the plant amazes me too, as does the positions they choose to grow in.....xxx

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    1. How tiny seeds grow will never cease to fascinate, Dina

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