Time for Garden Editing

garden editing
Today, I edited plantings that had naturally become more diverse. Monocultures are no longer pure. Seedlings have seeded in, ferns have sporulated and colonized. Drifts have lost their direction. Time to edit, and ruthlessness is called for. Not everything pulled out ends up composted. Many plants get a new home somewhere else in the garden. But, with a little time and hard work, some needed order is restored.
In a large bed of heleborus, I removed Southern Shield fern that has moved in. Hard to completely eliminate in one session, I will have to revisit in a month. Also given the boot: spiderwort that has seeded in. Spiderwort and Southern Shield fern go to the garbage bin (too tough to compost).
garden editing

A colony of self-seeded phlox

In another section of the garden, I have a colony of self-seeded phlox, one of Alabama’s great wildflowers. Blooms are usually a clear blue in color, but my colony has silvery-white and sorta-pink blooming plants as well. I consulted my friend Weesie Smith about this situation, and she advised me to retain only the best blue clumps and muck out the color variants. Weesie is famous for her blue phlox woodlands, as well as many other things wildflower related. As the phlox blooms begin to fade, I will eliminate all but the best blues and allow them to seed around.
Heuchera villosa

Heuchera villosa

Another Alabama wildflower, the hairy alum root (don’t you love those old common names), or Heuchera villosa, is showing foliage color variability. I see burgundy, bronze, mid-green, and chartreuse new foliage on these plants. They seem to be everywhere I look in the wildflower garden, even seeding out into the gravel paths. These I find too special to muck out, and will just enjoy the foliage until I can decide if I am ruthless enough to edit some of these out, or I just need to get moving and transplanting into more orderly drifts of hairy alum root. Or, maybe the wildflower garden is not the place to impose too much order when it comes to hairy alum root.

Mike Rushing

Mike and Paula Rushing have been gardening in St. Clair county since 1990, and In Forest Park since 2007. A Jefferson County Master Gardener and course instructor at Master Gardening classes, Mike also volunteers weekly at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens.

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