Text and photographs are © by Ellen Spector Platt & Ellen Zachos, all rights reserved.


Friday, June 10, 2011

ULTIMATE RECYCLING

(above, one pack of bachelor button 'Blue Boy' sown in 2006)
Here in NYC of course we recycle paper, plastic, metal, the usual stuff: garbage to the compost, good clothing to one of the many worthy thrift shops, books to the library for their sale. But the ultimate form of recycling happens on my roof top with little help from me.
Annuals that I've started from seed, resow themselves for the following year: Among the herbs, new dill, cilantro, calendula, viola and bronze fennel will sometimes emerge even in the same growing season. The flowers are well represented by bachelor buttons from the mother plants at top that show up here, and here
and here.as do portulaca, California poppies, spider plant (Cleome), and cosmos. I got a particular thrill this year when, in the space occupied by the only hydrangea that died over the winter, emerged a plethora of cosmos seedlings, enough to dig a few and plant in other in other bare spots around the garden. I've had second and third generations of larkspur and love-in a mist (Nigella damascene) as well.
Returning
Perennials also blow their seeds around the garden. Clematis found a home in the pot of black bamboo and in spring climb so rampantly that they cover the bamboo. Goldenrod, and blackeyed Susans are not weeds to me as they move from pot to pot on the wings of a slight breeze. I'm actually thrilled when I spy something in a new location and try to plot the path of the wind. I love to see seedlings pop up between pavers though I suspect it may not be the best for the roof membrane.This year I'm coddling two tiny seedlings that might be scions of my coral bark Japanese maple. (above) If they prove to be so, I'll buy new big containers and settle them in for a lifetime above 3rd. Avenue.
The Dilemma
Deadheading usually spurs the growth of both annuals and perennials. It's a task I thoroughly enjoy, the kind of mindless garden activity that's both productive and relaxing. My new spectacular lupines come with the instructions to cut off spent flower stems before the seedpods form. But if I do, they won't be able to seed themselves, as lupine are prone to do. Bigger, stronger mother plant, or potential babies? That is the question.

7 comments:

frank@nycg said...

Tough call. Let it seed the first year, then dead-head one and let the other seed.

Ellen Spector Platt said...

Frank, I think that's the ticket.

Garden Duchess said...

I say "Double Down!" Take the chance. Why not? Beautiful - you do sooo much w your containers. It show how much you love them!

Ellen Spector Platt said...

A curtsy to the Duchess.

Shady Gardener said...

Wow!! You are inspiring! :-) You sent me some little tubors (I'm sorry but the name is not coming to me). At any rate, two began growing this Spring. One died (why?) but the other is really growing well! I'll take a photo soon.

Shady Gardener said...

... Apios.... ;-) That's the best I could do for now.

Ellen Zachos said...

Yes, Shady, it's Apios americana. Are you sure one died? I ask because squirrels and chipmunks are very fond of the tubers and often dig them up and eat them. If you actually saw it start to grow and watched it die...that's a different story. If the one remaining grows well for you, you'll have plenty more at the end of the season!

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