Marty's garden, July 8th, 2015


Columbine and Foxgloves reseed generously too, but if you cut off the seed-heads in time, you will be left with a nice size mother plant and no babies. Or you can harvest the seeds, sprinkle them in an area you would like them to grow and soon you will have new plants.


Then there are true weeds with a nice long taproot, such as thistle and dandelions. Unless you get the whole plant with every little bit of root, soon a new plant will grow from any  part of the root left behind. And so we battle against those unwanted plants in unwanted places.


This spring and early summer I have been battling maple seedlings. One of the trees in the front yard AND in those of my neighbors’ is a red maple or Acer rubrum. It is a fast grower, with the most wonderful bright red fall coloring, but it also has shallow roots and throws off a yearly crop of winged seeds, called samaras. Most years I end up pulling a reasonable crop of sprouted seedlings around the tree, but this year was a different story. First the dry and occasional windy conditions in April and May blew seeds everywhere. Then, it rained in June; at lot, off and on. Suddenly tiny little red maple seedlings were sprouting up everywhere; around the maple, on the path, in all of the other beds. These winged seeds blown in on the wind from neighbors’ yards started sprouting in the back yard as well. Wherever I went, they poked up their heads. By now I have pulled out a least a thousand of them but more of them keep appearing. Normally, when you pull out seedlings on a nice warm day and leave them wherever you pulled them out, they shrivel up and die. But with this wet weather each pulled seedling had another change at life with each successive rainfall. I learned my lesson fast, keeping my bucket handy when pulling seeds and discarding them in the trash. I hope by now I have gotten to most of them, but they still manage to surprise me as they hide among the ornamental plants. And then, while looking at my Japanese maple (variety Bloodgood), I noticed it is just about ready to start dropping its winged seeds as well. Just like its American cousin, this tree will also spread its seeds far and wide on the wind. While it may seem like a shame to discard tiny little Japanese maples I have already cultivated two offspring from our tree into five foot tall specimens for our next garden. I guess I will have to pull out a few (or probably a lot) more seedlings at the next round this August. Oh well, at least all the bending over and getting up counts as exercise in my book…