In the middle of summer is no time to ignore the garden. No matter what type of gardens you have, it’s important to have a controling hand as the season progresses. Of course there are weeds. But there are also self-seeded annuals, biennials, perennials and shrubs that need to be edited or removed. This can make a huge difference in how a garden looks. For example, take a look at my “Annual Alley.”
Every year in Annual Alley I plant a different combination of annuals. But there are a few plants that self-seed from previous years. Emilia javanica often appears, and two types of green flowering Nicotiana. Last year I planted Verbena bonariensis here and natually the seeds of that plant sprout with vigor. I welcome the Emilia and the Nicotiana to a point. This year ALL the Verbena bonariensis have received the boot. “Thanks for showing up, guys, but SO LONG!”
In the past month, however, the Nicotianas have been pretty overpowering. Earlier in July they were smaller, and the border was fine. But in the past two weeks all I could see in the bed on the right was LIME GREEN. Time to edit and take control!
This morning I spent two hours in this bed, moving from one end to the other. How to decide what plants should go? First I removed plants that were already starting to go to seed. I have Nicotiana seeds in this bed to last for the next ten years, so more aren’t needed. Next, I cut out the plants that were growing thickly around and next to the other annuals here. The Nicotiana was shading or hiding some of these plants and they need enough sun to power them into the fall. Finally, I left a few Nicotiana that were still coming into flower and some that were short and yet to bloom. See how we can now see the other flowers clearly? Suddenly the Gomphrena ‘Fireworks’, Salvia and Zinnias are visable and no single plant predominates. Yay!
Now instead of dominating the planting the Nicotiana is providing bright accents that works with all the other plants. And in the process of editing, I also pulled any and all weeds. Balance is restored.
The Weekend Project is to look at your beds with a critical eye, looking for any plants that have thrown things out of balance. Just becasue a plant has grown in a particular location doesn’t mean that it should be allowed to stay…