Gardening With What You Have

Let It Rip-Unexpected Treats In The Garden

Christine Froehlich 07/20/2018 Comments

There's a lot to be said for leaving things alone. I used to spend hours raking leaves,weeding, pruning and removing debris to get my garden ready for spring. Now I've become a reformed neatnik - partly from sheer laziness and because I was curious to see what would happen if I relaxed a little.


A more laid back gardening style has provided many unexpected treats. For example, I didn't plan on these poppies, they just emerged on their own from the seed pods that dropped from last years crop. Last years flowers were a salmony color I wasn't all that crazy about, but they reverted to a lovely mix of pink that goes perfectly with the Nicotiana sanderae 'Cranberry Isles' I planted. Makes me look like I know what I'm doing. 




The two sentry hollyhocks that popped up across from each other at the end of this boxwood hedge cracked me up. I have no idea how they got there or how they turned out to be the same color. If I had tried this on purpose, it probaby wouldn't have worked. You can't plan this stuff.




At the end of last summer I trialed Hydrangea paniculata 'Bobo' and Supertunia Vista 'Bubblegum' (two Proven Winners introductions). It was late in the season and I never got around to taking them out of the container. I'm glad I left the hydrangea, it's really rocking this year - a little treat I can't wait to find a place for in my garden! Last summer, the petunia produced a bodacious crop of hot pink flowers that wouldn't quit. I was all excited about the seedlings that popped up this spring until I saw that they had reverted to this wimpy white color. I almost tossed them.


petunia seedlings


But as luck would have it, the discovery of free petunias came at a time when I had blown most of my plant budget. I socked them into this long windowbox along with some Sedum 'Cauticolum' that wintered over from last year. 


window box


My free windowbox! I was pleasantly surprised that they weren't all white. Along with some of the original hot pinks, the seedings produced a lovely blend of pinks and lavenders. Couldn't have planned it better.


window box


 This bed is on an outer perimeter I don't get around to weeding as much as I should. A bunch of feverfew (Matricaria chamomilla) seedlings took hold and I just let them rip. I'll take a carpet of white flowers over weeds any day.




I used to prune Clematis 'Jackmanni' harder, but this is a tough spot to reach. Now it has become a purple curtain that covers the windows and then some. It's crawling all over a viburnum that aphids munched on.


clematis jackmanni


I don't mind, everyone thinks I have a purple flowering shrub here instead of a disfigured plant.


clematis jackmanni


I planted gold creeping jenny (Lysimachia nummularia 'Aurea')  in this container last year and it reseeded at the base. Normally, I'd rip this stuff out because it's so aggressive, but nothing else grows in the gravel it sits on.This is a perfect place for it to crawl around.




On the other hand, here's something I planned that was a dismal failure. Cornus kousa 'Wolfeyes' did not like it here. I nursed it along for two years, but it finally bit the dust. 


dead dogwood


I was so bummed out that I didn't notice what came up in its place. A big mass of gray mint I've been pulling out for years. It's quite pretty on its own isn't it? Maybe I don't need another tree.


gray mint



grays month


 It all reminds me of my place in the scheme of things. I like to think that I'm in charge of what  happens in my garden, but the truth is, the real magic happens when we stop interfering with it. 

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