I am not a tidy gardener. The more varieties, the better, and I love finding new botanical treasures every day in this crazy, wild flower garden of ours. Nothing makes me happier than peering into the space and seeing sparrows hopping and darting, bees buzzing from blossom to blossom, tiny pollinator wasps doing their thing, and another new type of flower to love!
This space used to be covered in massive, overgrown, old juniper and cedar shrubs. They were low maintenance in a way, but very old and dusty and every time I looked at them I could see potential in their absence. Last spring I hacked and whacked them off as well as I could with a pair of pruners, and let J finish off what I couldn't with the chain saw. We found a delightful assortment of large boulders previously unseen. We planted a few berry bushes, tossed in a handful of wild flower seeds, and let it find its way. We didn't realize that under the old shrubbery, perennial flowers and plants had been lying dormant, just waiting for their chance to burst back into life.
For instance, fireweed (young sprouts shown above) grow to tall, purple flowered giants that nicely fill in a dry, desolate corner. Unfortunately, it's considered a noxious weed by our city, and if I don't make good efforts to keep it in check or removed, we could be fined. I pull them out by the roots before they flower and seed, and drop them in place to keep the ground cool and moist underneath, and as they decompose, to build up the soil for the next arrivals. As things fill out and mature, the mulch becomes less obvious and looks less untidy.
|Spirea, Volunteer Maples and Bergenia|
|Pink and White Peonies|
|Lavender and Gooseberry|
I wasn't too successful at stratifying and starting sea buckthorn from seed last year, so this spring J dug two juvenile shrubs from the wild where they were growing rampant. They seem to be tolerating the transfer fairly well. If and when they eventually produce their tiny yellow-orange berries we will either eat them, or if they are too sour, let the birds feast on the harvest.
I'm not so fond of Maltese Cross, which will eventually produce sturdy, bright orangey red blossoms at their tops. (I gravitate to cooler hues in the garden!) I've given away many shovelfuls of this plant from the other flower garden, and even tried to pull it out by the roots, but it will not die. Therefore, I will leave it alone and let it add to the diversity in this space. Even if we don't understand the exact relationships, all these plants and insects and critters have a role in the beautiful, interconnected web of life.
|Rose and Rhubarb|
As you can see above, the "chop and drop" method of mulching isn't necessarily that tidy and groomed looking. This is a neglected back corner, rarely seen by passersby, and I let dry stuff pile up and rot to contribute to the soil volume. This little rose bush will eventually be massive, and the tiny little rhubarb plant as well, when it finally grips its roots in firmly and decides to flex its shoulders! That should nicely fill in this depressed little corner with life and beauty. Patience, patience.
|Perennial Baby's Breath|
|Cosmos? (Not sure yet.)|
|Possibly Sweet Rocket?|
|Bachelor Buttons, both blue and white|
|Orange and Yellow Poppies and Violas|
Since the afternoon I took all these photos and counted 27 separate types of plants, I realized I had missed including several more varieties happily making their way out there. Besides the ones shown here, there's several dandelions (of course!), a sand cherry shrub, the apple tree, the now flower-less tulips, blue flax, and several other things that I have not yet identified. I think I need a plant identification app!