Saturday, July 28, 2007
Volunteers - surprises in the garden, in the lawn, in the driveway . . . exhuberant life.
Seeds are distributed indiscriminately by the wind or birds and take root wherever they land. Many of these volunteers, if sprouting in inappropriate places, can be pulled as weeds. The thrifty gardener is overjoyed, though, to discover these little presents.
I once found a flowering Trillium poking through an asphalt driveway. It was a chore to dig it out root and all. I transplanted it under a Douglas Fir. It bloomed the following year but never appeared again.
Since removing the grass in my courtyard a meadow of volunteers has sprung up. There is a six foot tall Sunflower and two smaller siblings, a flowering Pumpkin, a Johnny Jump Up Violet, a forest of Evening Primroses, California Poppies, Feverfew, and an assortment of Dandelions.
Offspring of a Bronze Fennel I bought some years ago pop up all over. I see my neighbor has a nice specimen descendant from my parent plant. I don't recall how much the original cost but, whatever the price, it was a bargain.
Blackberries and Black Raspberries are vining in and out of the landscape. One vine is threatening to barricade my front door. The native birds and I love the berries but the barricade should probably be classified a weed.
Robins and Starlings feast on Mahonia berries and have deposited Mahonia seed here and there. Those beautiful blue berries began as a fragrant cluster of yellow flowers in the spring. The plant itself grows to ten or twelve feet tall and is a nice hedge along the west side of my property. The birds don't seem to mind, but I try to avoid the spiky, thick Holly like leaves.
Two Mahonia volunteers have sprung up as bookends to a dying plum tree on the eastern border. When the plum is finally gone I'll have another Mahonia hedge to replace it.
No mistake. The plum will be sadly missed. It produced the sweetest, juiciest fruit. However, like many of us in advancing years, the plum's production is in decline.
The world is full of volunteers, though. Life goes on.
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