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So Happy Together

Here she is as of this sunny Sunday morning. Aside from the pumpkins stretching out and taking more real estate than I’d anticipated (they’re to the right of the hostas, having been transplanted from the upper corner of the garden where two remain), they all seem pretty happy together. Lining the front fence are my hostas which I thinned from the side.  You can see the border of hostas now on the bottom of the picture.  They’re in bloom, with some tall pretty stand-up flowers that look like they’ve reached up to admire the rest of the garden.  As I mentioned before, these are the oldest plants in the yard.  A neighbor who still lives across the street from me gave them to me when I first moved in more than ten years ago.  They have survived bitter winters, and more than one invasive procedure to fix a main pipe running from my basement to the street. I thinned them out early in the season because they just really look like they wanted to move.  So I put some of them up front.  You can see one just to the left of the yellow day lily, which my sister brought from Wisconsin. The small wall of white flowers that border the hostas and day lilies (which, I’ve just learned in picking the link are so called because each flower lasts only a day, making even more poignant the fact that the first one appeared on the summer solstice – what sage plants have I!).  have a name I can’t remember right now.  Behind them is my little native plant garden, which has ironweed, some others, and the lone yellow black-eyed susan poking out toward the left of the pic.  Surrounding the various native plants are the small ones that are actually Johnny jump ups scattered from seed I planted off to the side but which attracted birds, who gave them a new home.  At least this is what I suspect they are.  Several people have asked me if I’m going to pull them out, assuming they’re weeds because they were so much smaller than the native plants I put in from small plants (not seeds).  I’m hoping they bloom brilliantly, though they might not till next year.  (Note, in grabbing the hyperlink for the johnny jump-ups, I thrilled to learn that they are edible!!!  I just love pretty eatable things.)  Still closer to the house are the pumpkins from the CT restaurant I mentioned in an earlier post, along with the wild ginger from Saratoga Springs, and the couple of container plants – one that my super-neighbor-friend from down the block has for sweetpeas and green beans that are much taller than we anticipated and my own cukes in their own self-watering container (these are where u see the yellow flowers – and also in the other planter box to compare whether the sel-watering type fares better). The rest of the yard closest to the house – which is barely visible from this pic b/c it’s cut off there – is pretty much wild, for whatever that means anymore. I do think I have a tall weed/plant taking over, and have been trying to weigh its usefulness.  I spotted what I thought was the same plant on the Wildman tour of Prospect Park recently, and when I asked our guide, he said it was goldenrod.  I probably won’t mess with it this year but already thinking ahead to next spring.  With that in mind, here’s my …

QUESTION: what is the point of goldenrod?  Is there really any objective, verifiable difference between a weed and a plant?  Is it really just in the eye of the beholder?  Assuming this is a native plant, how does it help the greater ecosystem if it’s just taking up a little spot in my front yard?  If I decide to keep the goldenrod, assuming that’s what it is, how would a native plant activist feel about me moving it out of the way?  Does that disturb the whole notion that we should just leave native plants well enough alone, wherever they happen to reside?  Would moving it be better than pulling it out and feeding it to my compost bin?  Would doing so, in the eyes of the nativist, be a sin?  Help me out here.  I don’t mean to disturb the universe.  So, go ahead … gimme the dirt!

3 responses to “So Happy Together

  1. Ralph ⋅

    I recently listened to a podcast where someone said ‘a weed is an herb growing in the wrong place’. It still makes sense if you broaden the term herb to plant. Although I never thought of it, weeds serve to help the garden. Weeds are often some of the first flowers to appear in the garden and attract bees and other beneficial insects. Check out and listen to the episode on weeds. It gave me a whole new outlook on weeds, and gave my garden a different look- especially the part that now grows wild. Once I did go walking through the wild section with a machete. It’s not that it is that wild, I just needed to cut the tall grass seeds and get rid of them without damaging the red clover growing below. The lawn mower would have cut everything. I haven’t had to use the lawn mower once this year- good for the environment. Before winter I will need it to cut everything down which will then become mulch. I have relocated plants out of the way on occasion. I think it’s OK, it gives both plants a better healthier life. You’re not moving them, you’re giving them a better location. I hate to kill plants, especially if I planted them.

    So far at least, it seems like doing things more naturally is easier and costs less. To use another podcast’s tag line, ‘who knew dirt could be so much fun’.

  2. Pingback: Still on the Weed « revelgardener

  3. Ralph ⋅

    Sorry if this is in the wrong place, I don’t know if posting replies to very old posts are flagged somehow. I just listened to a program that had an alternative to Triscuit (sp) cards. Fold a paper towel, moisten it. Spread seeds on the moist towel and cover with another folded moist paper towel. Keep moist and you can watch as the seeds sprout. Once they are off to a good start, take the seeds in the paper towels and cover with soil in the yard. The towel will decompose and the seeds will grow.

    This was used to test 2 year old seeds to see if they would still grow. They did.

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