Monday, November 1, 2010

More on Self Sowing

Largeflower Fameflower (Phemeranthus calycinus syn. Talinum calycinus)

In my last blog I described the difficulty in making any sort of composition out of a garden of directly sown seeds. The distribution of plants is so randomized the garden lacks interest in spite of abundant color. Another approach I have used is to let only one or two selections self sow in an otherwise more or less fixed garden. I had some nice success with the mullein Verbascum olympicum which, because it is a biennial, is pretty much an obligatory self sower. The downside to Verbascum olympicum is that it is so big it buries smaller plants. I also had success with the common horticultural columbine (Aquilegia) which is a perennial but is both prolific enough to make a sort of light wash over a garden by filling in bare spots and small enough not to be intrusive.

My most recent example of a self sowing plant freely distributing itself over my garden to good affect is largeflower fameflower (Phemeranthus calycinus, syn. Talinum calycinus). It is the sole survivor of a group of hardy succulents I tried in my newest rock garden. I like the way it adds a wash of color over the garden while not pushing other plants aside. If it becomes too thick it is very easy to remove.

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