Friday, August 28, 2009

More on Self-Seeding

I can't seem to stop being fascinated with plants in my garden that are seeding themselves around. I have already written in this blog about Cyclamen purpurascens and Gillenia trifoliata self-seeding to my delight. Now I am infatuated with my display of Cimicifuga japonica pictured above from my front yard making a very gratifying display. I wish I could have captured the full display in a good image. I guess one of the reasons it is so gratifying is that the show is a better one than I would have constructed myself, and it was a lot less expensive. It is also fascinating to see which plants find which garden settings so much to their liking that they seed themselves in. Of course, there is the down side to this self-seeding. I had to commit genocide on my Salvia forskaohlei a few years ago to get control of its spread throughout the garden. Yesterday I found one still lurking in an overlooked corner. I ripped it out. More recently I had to begin the process of removing all my Knautia macedonica because they were insinuating themselves into far too much of my garden. Perhaps in a wilder garden the aforementioned Salvia and Knautia would not be considered offensive.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Exciting Seedlings

Recently discovered seedling of Cyclamen purpurascens

One of the above seedling's likely parents in August toward the end of its blooming cycle.

This is Cyclamen hederafolium that E.A. Bowles wrote about in the quote below. It has the weird habit of blooming in late summer and putting out leaves in the fall.

There is something particularly gratifying about a desirable plant really settling in and making itself at home in my garden, and what could be more domestic than raising a family. This gratification is especially noteworthy when a plant that is a bit of a challenge to grow not only persists in my garden but also puts out a few seedlings. I discovered the above pictured seedling of Cyclamen purpurascens recently about thirty feet from my little planting of the parent plants. A likely parent, also pictured above, has been in my garden for about seven years and it and its companions are growing at a glacial pace. (In light of global warming we may have to change that expression.) So, given the slow growth of the parents the appearance of a few seedlings here and there was even more satisfying than usual.

A quote that caught my imagination about hardy cyclamens was from E.A. Bowles in his book My Garden in Autumn and Winter. In speaking of what we now call Cyclamen hederifolium he says, "You get as good value year in and year out from Cyclamen neapolitanum as from any one plant I can recall, and I think it must be one of the most long-lived of all that are not trees. There is one immense old root here, that would not go into the crown of my hat, and my dear old mother used to tell me she brought it from Atkins' garden at Painswick soon after her marriage, and it is now many years since my parents celebrated their golden wedding. Sixty years is a long life for any one plant, for C. neapolitanum does not renew itself annually as most bulbous plants do, but just grows a little wider from season to season and the older and larger it grows the more vigorous it gets, and the greater number of flowers it produces."

What are the chances one of my children will carry-on the cultivation of my cylamen? Ummm.