A Gardening Year

The adventures and misadventures of an heirloom gardener

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Attack of the Giant Weeds

We are back in the heat and humidity with afternoon thunderstorms. And now we are also expecting more tropical storms from the Gulf. All of this rain has been wonderful for the gardens. And the weeds. Seems that's all I do, day after day, is pull weeds. They are huge. They have also been hiding some nice surprises.

I had tried to grow Johnny Jump Ups last year in what is now the New World Garden. A few germinated. Some of those survived the winter and bloomed this spring. As I am clearing out the giant weeds, I am finding a dream come true. Lots and lots of little seedlings. Now the seedlings are blooming having been given the chance to grow once the weeds are cleared away. I'm hoping to be able to spread them out for lots of color next spring.

Another surprise was in the Wild Flower Garden that I created at the last minute. I had seen lupines growing but when I weeded out that patch, I found wild columbine seedlings. More color for next spring.

Even the poppies have surprised me. Along with the usual orange, red and pink, there have been a few with white edges and I even found one that is a double. Ditto the nasturtiums with multi-colored flowers in addition to the usual solids.

What's blooming now? A new flower for me, Cottage Red marigold. Burpee describes it as: "An unusual mariold discovered in Mexico. A loose, informal, tall bush marigold with clear red flowers". It should have been planted in the New World Garden, but for some reason, I used it as a filler along the edge of the Holly Garden. It's very pretty and very delicate. I will be growing this one again.

The first balsam is blooming. It usually reseeds itself and I add some new purchased seed each year to fill in the area. I didn't need to this year. In fact, I have been transplanting it into a bed in the front of the house because I have too many plants.

The Scarlet Runner Beans are blooming lustily. And climbing their absurdly long poles. Remember this picture from Memorial Day? The vines have reached the tops of the poles which are the height of my neighbor's garage and are still growing!

Sadly, the Purple Coneflowers that I grew from seed and waited three years for them to bloom are under attack from Japanese Beetles. The beetles are chewing up the petals as they open. This is the first time in years that I have had a problem with Japanese Beetles. Normally, I am the only one who doesn't have a problem because I invite birds into my yard with feeders and a birdbath. They usually eat all the grubs before they have a chance to mature into adults. I'm not sure why that didn't happen this year. I have more birds than ever.

And just for fun, I took a picture of a toadstool that was growing in the Purple Garden. The next day it was gone! Who ate it? The bunny? A squirrel?


At 8:27 AM, Blogger ScbNymph said...

Be careful what you wish for with Johnny Jump-Ups as they can start to become a bit prolific! I believe they are actually a cool season annual that reseed themselves so abundently that they seem like perennials. Anyway, they will spread quickly for you and you won't know what to do with them. They need cool temperatures to bloom which is why they flower so early in the spring, mine have bloomed late in the year as well because I sheared them back

At 8:29 AM, Blogger ScbNymph said...

My SRB Vine has grown to the height of about 8ft and is still going strong. I am going to pinch the end off which should stop it climbing and make it put its growth into flowers and leaves

At 11:22 PM, Blogger crazygramma said...

I too have found some surprises hiding under the weeds. In fact I have just posted some pictures of my surprises.

At 12:26 AM, Blogger OldRoses said...

Scbnymph - I have been trying for years to get the Johnny Jump Ups to go wild for me. This is the first year that they have reseeded themselves abundantly for me. I love them and want them all over.


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