Sometimes I almost wished that they would stop offering free shipping. There are enough different kinds of seeds in my collection to keep me busy but the April Fool’s Day offer was another difficult one to resist. These are the seeds that arrived today (in no particular order):
Oriental Poppy. At the last house I lived in, my immediate neighbor had a cluster of these growing in his garden. They looked amazing and seeing them assured me that they will grow in my area. I tried my hand at growing these and purchased seeds (from a seed company different than the current). It took a few tries before there was successful germination. In fact, it was not until I moved to my current house did I see poppy seedlings. The seedlings grew happily in a pot until one day to my horror I found that they had been mowed down by a cut worm. To say I was heartbroken would be an understatement. Afterward and as I had hoped, they regrew. I believe that was three years ago. The surviving plant is about 8-inches in diameter and it has yet to flower.
That plant may never flower so I hope to get a new start. This time I will also direct sow the seeds as it is written that they prefer that over being transplanted. Continue Reading
In the permaculture sphere, daikon radish is an important plant. With long tap roots, daikon is also known as a dynamic accumulator. Dynamic accumulators are plants that mine minerals from the soil. With a large root, daikon grow deep below to absorb and bring minerals to the surface for the vegetables and other plants in the garden. They make a great cover crop– easy to grow and grows aggressively.
Purple fountain grass is a popular and inexpensive landscape plant. In California where the affects of drought are being felt, this “water efficient” plant is finding itself into a lot of dirt. It is an aggressive plant, grows quickly, and grows to cover a good amount of ground. This grass is a landscaper favorite to install. It was one of two that were installed when the front yard was professionally landscaped in 2013.
Since its installation, it was found that the fountain grass is a plant that I both loved and hated. I loved its deep color and that it produces straw to be used. However, I disliked how massive it would grow.
The blades of the fountain grass on the ground in the picture above illustrates the plant’s 8 foot diameter coverage. Moreover, aggressiveness of this plant is considered by the National Parks Service as an ecological threat. Source: http://www.nps.gov/plants/alien/fact/pdf/pese1.pdf Something to consider when selecting this plant.
With this cluster of purple fountain grass removed, there remains one other cluster of grass on the property. While there are reasons to remove that one as well, it is hard to forget that the grass can be harvested for use. With that in mind. Its fate is still being determined.
Along the public right of way (sidewalk), potatoes have been planted. With so many plants to grow, potatoes have been an afterthought. As far as if they will grow well during this time of year that is to be determined.
Out in Front Garden it was time for the New Zealand flax (phormium tenax) to give up its spot. The flax was moved to a different part of the yard. In its place a mulberry (morus) tree was planted. The tiny tree was grown from a cutting by my brother.
The spot where the tree lives now has a very awkward transition between the dirt, steps, and concrete walk way. Originally, the flax was planted to mask this awkward transition. The flax offered a good deal of landscape appeal. Other than that, it is somewhat of a maintenance hog. The blades when they die off become dry and fibrous. The dried blades are difficult to cut and thus are difficult to remove. For those considering New Zealand flax as a landscape plant, my advice is to consider the maintenance aspect.
With the flax no longer covering the awkward transition a daylily was selected. The ‘Fire of Fuji’ double reblooming daylily (hemerocallis) was divided and planted at the base of the young mulberry tree.
In terms of permaculture design, the mulberry will be allow to grow to about five feet tall. At the base, different plants will make their home through the seasons. In their first season, the mulberry and daylilies will also share ground with elephant garlic and oriental lilies.
Today, the elephant garlic were planted in the Front Garden. Elephant garlic (allium ampeloprasum) are easy to grow. When planting, they are normally planted without much effort; and given little care. A small hole is dug and they are placed in. The soil in the front of the house (or Front Garden) is worked minimally. Despite the soil being closer to dirt, the bulbs produced at the end of the season are good sized.
Now after a few seasons, compost is added to the soil. Today’s planting was therefore a little different from the past as far as the amount of work required goes. Despite the increase in the time required, the planting strategy remained the same. In the Front Garden, the elephant garlic (along with anything planted out there) are planted not in uniform rows but semi-organically. Out there, they are both a landscape element and crop.
Botanical Interests is one of my favorite seed brands. They have a large and interesting collection of vegetables, flowers, and herbs. On top of that, their seed packets are artful and informative. Best of all, they have the scientific names of the plants. Their seeds are available online but I always prefer to pick them up. Around here, I know I can find the complete catalog at a Armstrong Garden Center. I went in looking for the ‘Dragon’s Tongue’ arugula seeds and came out with a few others. This is already displaying restraint.