Monday, May 25, 2009

Volunteers

Every year I lose plants and I add plants. Trying to perfect various areas of the yard. Last year I know I was planting new things all summer long. Some specialty sunflowers I planted didn't make it through the winter. I should have known - they looked pretty exotic and probably were not for my zone. I also noticed that last of my beloved bee balm has died. I don't know if I'll try to replace any of them. They seem prone to disease and eventually die off. I also lost some hyssop where the gophers came up last fall. I buy hyssop every chance I get and stick it somewhere. Later in July I'll have hummingbird buzzing around like bees.

Today I spent a couple of hours walking around the yard, locating volunteer plants, and moving them to places that needed some filling. After all, if a plant likes the location so well that it gives me new baby plants, I think we need to go with that success. The following are some things I managed to find and transplant:

Russian Sage. You can actually have too much of this large bushy plant so, sometimes I just pull them up and throw them away. They need to be in the back or at the corner of a plot as they get to be four feet wide and four feet tall. I did transplant one little fellow today.

Blanket Flower. This low-growing flower looks like a weed until it blooms and then it has the prettiest yellow and orange flowers you can imagine. I had one volunteer in a spot where I had moved one previously. Must have seeded down or left some roots. At any rate, a free plant.

Lavendar. I have found lots of starts of this fragrant plant. I let them get a little established before transplanting. They start out as one single stem, and then branch out from there.

Ice Plant. I needed a couple of places filled in with yellow in my new border area. I just chopped off a section from the well established plants in the backyard by the birdbath.

Pink Chintz Thyme. I have enough of this I could make dozens of starts if I wanted. I just took my shovel and chopped off a nice piece here and there and extended both ends of my pathway that's starting to look more like a little stream as it fills in.

Jupiter's Beard. I took five well-established plants and moved them to that upper sidewalk on the south. It will be a real test for these most hardy of plants as this is right by both the sidewalk and hot asphalt road. They'll need watering at least twice, maybe three times a day, until they are established.

Coreopsis. This was not a volunteer, but a plant that was being squeezed out by some huge daisies. I noticed there are two more plants that also look like coreopsis there, but I will wait and be sure they aren't just weeds.

Artemesia. Like the coreopsis, this one just needed moving as everything around it was encroaching. Plus I didn't like three of these pretty silver mounds right together.

What remains are several scrub oak plants. This plant is native to this hillside and grows everywhere with just rainfall to keep it growing. I have four or five nice little plants, and I am going to plant them on the west side of the house to eventually block my view of my neighbor's messy back yard. I sit up above and my deck looks down into a yard that they have completely cemented in. It's horrid. That's where their two dogs spend their time, in that hot yard. Well the owners do leave a child's wading pool for them to cool down in. I toss them treats so they won't bark while I'm sitting on the deck. I'll transplant the scrub oak another day, my day got filled up and I got pretty exhausted from the work. My ex-husband told me you can't transplant these, they will not survive. I don't believe it and I just have to try anyway.

It was supposed to rain this afternoon. Didn't happen. So I had to give all the transplants a good drink of water.

Oh, I did buy two additional plants. Hyssop (Anise scented) for the hummingbirds. I already have quite a bit of hyssop around the yard and I love it. Also a pretty red diantha to give that new area some instant color. All in all, a very good day for my yard. Let's hope everything lives.

2 comments:

Jacqui Binford-Bell said...

Love the list of successes. Means I may try a few of those. Over the years of living here I too have had some winners and losers. And every spring I walk around the yard and take note of which trees and plants survived the winter.

I had to laugh at you waiting to find out if one possible "volunteer" was a weed. I do the same thing. My mother, the consummate gardener, knew instantly but I have to postpone judgment.

bekkieann said...

The Russian Sage is particularly nice as it is big and bushy, takes truly almost no water at all, and yet is beautiful and sagey-fragrant and attracts lots of bees and butterflies. I leave the long stems all winter and then cut down to 12" in the spring.

I'm sad I can't seem to keep bee balm alive. So pretty.