Too Busy to Deadhead - The Payoff
You know what I've realized of late - I'm horrible at multi-tasking. I'm not referring to doing multiple things at once, which I'm also horrible at, but doing multiple things in one day. More often than not, when I'm doing one "thing", such as working in the garden or sorting through the gazillion photos I took in Denver (still on the to-do list), everything else gets put on the back-burner.
This weeks time guzzler was stage 1 of restoring an invasive infested border
that's been on the to-do list for years.
Family member: When's dinner?
Me: What time is it?
Family member: 5:00
Me: Soon (delude myself into thinking I still have a bit of time)
Family member: What are we having?
Me: I haven't decided yet (realize that I really should get cracking on dinner, set aside what I'm doing and try to come up with a meal that can be ready in 30 minutes. We end up eating at 7 'cause I'm no Rachel Ray.)
Much like everyone else, I'm afflicted with "too much to do, too little time" syndrome and the garden is no small part of that. Certain garden tasks that go undone, however, end up being blessings. I'm talking about deadheading, or lack thereof, and the self-seeding that results. And while some of the self-seeded surprises in my garden may be "same ol', same ol'" for someone in a more southerly climate, around here (in Canadian zone 5/6, U.S. zone 4/5) they are truly something to celebrate 😃
A couple of repeat performers in the garden are calendula and California poppies - I’m always happy to see them come up each spring:
Self-seeded California Poppy
This season, I had a few new self-seeders that I’m totally relishing. Last year, I planted cosmos along the edge of the veg garden and this spring, I was rather surprised to see a grouping of them come up right in the middle of the veg area:
Baby cosmos in mid-July with one solitary bloom
Cosmos are large but wispy plants so walking through this "meadow" is not an issue.
The self-seeded alyssum is doing MUCH better than
those I started in the spring (but that's a whole other story...)
Sunny surprise on the hilltop
Notice the strategic circle of rocks so that I don't accidentally step on it.
Growing a tree from this stage will be a fun experiment, if I manage to keep them alive, and that's a BIG if 😉
I also had a couple of surprise self-seeded edibles in the vegetable garden. Last year, I let the lettuce that I planted in the early summer to go seed. I was actually hoping that they may end up giving me a fall harvest, but by the time the plants flowered, the seeds matured, fell off and germinated, it was too late in the season. I did end up with seedlings but they were still tiny by the time the cool weather rolled around and didn’t end up amounting to anything. I thought that was it but fast forward to spring and this happened:
|This year's lettuce starting to bolt|
Cilantro going to seed...aka coriander
(which is such a delicious spice, btw)
Of course, the self-seeding strategy sometimes backfires as in the case of the Dah-Ye garlic chives I sowed a few years ago. I LOVE them and their blooms are absolutely amazing.
The pollinators love them too...
I've removed well over a hundred seedlings & I have a feeling
I'll still be pulling stragglers next year
The dill has also gone crazy. The bright side – I haven’t had to plant dill in about 4 years & swallowtail caterpillars love it. The negative – I’m constantly weeding dill out of beds and pathways and this year was particularly bad.
Unlike in previous years where it was a free-for all seed fest,
I'll only be allowing a couple of dill plants go to seed this year.
Borage is another rampant self-seeder that I’ve learned my lesson on – I planted it 5 or 6 years ago and it has come up ever since. I usually pull most of them up as they tend to grow in the most inopportune spots such as the middle of a pathway or an occupied bed. Borage is a large (and prickly!) plant but the pollinators love it and the flowers are so pretty so I'll leave one or two if they won't get in the way.
Another pollinator favourite, which is why I always leave a couple to flower
(although I do try to pull them up as soon as the flowers start to fade
Overwintered Peppermint Chard
Peppermint chard is an open-pollinated variety so I decided to forgo harvesting leaves in the hopes that I can harvest some seed instead. So far, it shows no signs of bolting but I've not given up just yet.