Monday, June 22, 2009

Know Your Seedlings

I was weeding my garden the other day and was surprised to see a few score of an unfamiliar seedling which I thought to be a strangely odd weed. After pulling a few I stopped to think and realized they were seedlings of the nearby Gillena trifoliata (Bowman's Root)(seedling and mature plant pictured above). It was a pleasant surprise to have such a desirable plant self seeding. I have grown it in that garden for years and this was the first time I noticed its seedlings. Perhaps I wasn't so heavy on the mulch this year. Coincidentally a few days later I read a brief interview with English horticulturist Noel Kingsbury. He was asked for his top gardening tip, which he gave as, "Get to know what plants in your garden self-seed, so you can recognize the seedlings and not weed them out. Then watch a natural, dynamic process take over." I would add a qualifier to that and say watch the natural, dynamic process take over with caution. I have many times been thrilled to see something self-seeding only to later curse its abundance and difficulty to control.

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