For free

A single white flowered coneflower (Echinacea purpurea ‘White Swan’, below) has parented a dozen or more seedlings that squeeze between a wide spreading sedge (Carex ‘Evergold’) and an aged hellebore. Seedheads tossed behind the tall sedge in autumn have germinated, but these are still youngsters and not yet with flowers.

A year ago most seedlings were purple, but now the majority are white with a single, double flowered purple (below). I am delighted that my paltry investment has multiplied, and nearly always I am happy to see seedlings, whatever the plant. Occasionally, there are a few too many and some must be weeded out, but this is no more difficult than getting rid of any shallowly rooted weed.

Over the years I’ve purchased around forty varieties of ferns. Somewhere the names are recorded since my poor little brain can retain only so much detail, but I need no assistance identifying the slight variations of Japanese Painted ferns (Athyrium niponicum pictum, below). It seems that not every garden has Painted ferns popping up in gaps between stone paths, or on moss covered stones, but here dozens of sporelings pop up every year. Of course, a fern in the middle of a path is not a good long term bet, so these are weeded out while many are allowed to grow on. If one eventually grows a bit too large, it is easily moved, but the moderately chaotic appearance with a fern growing beside, under, or over a neighbor suits my eye.

A few long established hellebores appear to be declining. Perhaps this area has become too damp, but fortunately there are large seedlings to fill this space. There are hundreds of seedlings each year, and most are ignored for a year or two until they are large enough to encroach on another’s space, or they can be transplanted. Many have been moved around the garden or potted and given away. Free plants are usually appreciated.

3 Comments Add yours

  1. tonytomeo says:

    Although white is my favorite color, some flowers are too brightly white! This one, with its rusty center, is more compatible with more other colors (I think).

    1. Dave says:

      I’m sure there are color combinations that might be jarring, but my eye doesn’t exactly work this way.

      1. tonytomeo says:

        I don’t get it either. If I could, I would get more white flowers at work. I make a point of not selecting flowers. Others are more proficient with color. They often feature a bit of extra white because they know I like it, but we should be more concerned with how the landscapes look to everyone else. I can plant all the white I want in my own garden.

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