Central Virginia Organic Gardener

"And 'tis my faith that every flower enjoys the air it breathes." - William Wordsworth, 1798

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Good Choice, Poor Choice

We all make choices about plants in our landscape.  Some can be evaluated as good, some bad.  This is a subjective determination, but can be objective too.  These choices can also be well considered, or spur of the moment. This post is about two plants: both were spur of the moment, or fairly spontaneous, choices. One worked out well the other did not.

The photo on top is from what I like to call my "edible landscaping." This photo was taken in one of my front yard flower beds, yes, flower bed.  Ten years ago, I planted strawberries in my backyard vegetable garden. I tried hard to follow the spacing guidelines and, having ordered 50 plants, had 15 or so "leftover."  What to do?  Well, I was also working on my flower beds in front at the same time, and they were pretty sparse, so, the extra strawberry crowns got tucked in here and there among the flowers.

For years, both beds flourished, but, don't you know it, the beds in the vegetable garden faltered, while the flower bed strawberries, which have been pretty much ignored, took off,  and set lots of fruit.  Now, the flower bed berries are doing much better than those in the veg garden, and they make a nice, green ground cover all season long.  A serendipitous choice gone well.

The photo above is of a choice that has not gone so well and is a "morality play" about the potential problems with "passalong" plants (those plants given you by an enthusiastic gardener friend).  Most of the passalong plants I have been given are great: day lilies, iris, sedums.  But this one not so much.  The grassy foliage above is river oats. I was initially charmed by the cool, draping seed heads of this plant, sort of like draping oats or wheat, and for years I used it in flower arrangements.  But it grew and spread and, if I don't continue dig it out, my garden will consists of it and obedient plant, another passalong (luckily obedient plant is easy to pull).  We had a wet spring, thank goodness, which enabled me to remove almost all of the river oats, but do your research before you plant it!

So, we gardeners make good choices and bad ones, and have to deal with the consequences.  Hum, I guess that is like life in general!

Happy gardening!


Anita said...

The strawberries look really good. My mom's garden strawberries have always been small. Maybe she should plant amongst the flowers. :)

Judy Thomas said...

Smaller strawberries are sweeter than large ones, usually!