Thursday, May 20, 2010


This week I have been at my most gardening ruthless, and it wasn't easy. I had allowed this area of the herb garden to become over run with larkspur, crowding out the santolina, variegated creeping oregano and dittany of Crete. Yesterday I pulled the lot. The patch looks very bare but I think I may have learnt my lesson. All too often in my garden the bullies take over and crowd out the smaller plants.

This is a herb garden! It looks more like wildflower meadow. Years ago I stopped by the roadside and picked some Coreopsis tinctoria seeds, to sow on the septic field. For some reason they prefer to be in my garden. I do love the way they waft in the breeze but oh how they seed themselves everywhere, except on the septic, of course. The deer eat them.

I left the coreopsis and moved on into the sunken garden, removing vast swaths of trailing wine cups. It really was getting too much. They had seeded in enormous numbers and were taking over. Seeds were already spilling out onto the stones and I made sure I picked up every one. I still have one plant to remove from the center but am waiting for a replacement idea before I do so.

The problem with the red corn poppies is that they greet me every morning. The bees are busy collecting pollen and I can't possibly pull them out. By evening they are gone but it is far to hot to be working outside and they always get to stay another day.

Trying to find low growing plants for my rock garden is not easy. It certainly isn't Englemann's daisy, cut leaf daisy, Engelmannia pinnatifida. Nice plant, great cut flowers, wonderful at hiding the daffodil leaves but too big and starting to spread like wildfire. I cut two of them back and removed the large clump.
All I have to do now is find some well mannered replacements.


  1. YEs, sometimes the bullies do have to go, even if they are pretty!

    I've got some patches of Mexican petunia (Ruellia), and I regret the day I planted them.

  2. It is so hard to be ruthless, but it must be done. I can't help it though...I was eyeing those larkspur with a sigh and wondering if you made a huge bouquet with the flowers before you got rid of the plants.

  3. It is hard to pull out such pretty flowers, even if they're bullies.
    They all seem to love your garden.

    I think you have more sunny areas than I do. My best sun is mostly unfenced...and, you know what that means...DEER.

    It's always a challenge.


  4. I think the hardest lesson a gardener must learn is to be ruthless. Sometimes I can do it, and other times I can't...but I am always glad when I did. Your flower thugs are so pretty, I would have a hard time for certain!

  5. Since I'm still working with a young garden, I haven't had to deal with overcrowding yet. I wonder how I will handle it when the time comes!

  6. I'm a weenie when it comes to the bullies too. Heartleaf skullcap is the biggest bully in my yard! Everything looks lovely...especially if you don't know where things are supposed to be...and stay.