Plants – Coleus Week/Volunteers

It’s a hot, hot, hot day here in the Mid-Atlantic State of New Jersey. Heat-loving plants and people are doing well, those who dislike the temperature hovering near 100 degrees are not so good. If kept well-watered, coleus plants do well in July; they love high temperatures. Not only do they thrive in the heat, they also offer up volunteer sprouts in surprising nooks and crannies courtesy of last year’s seed stalks.

They are not particular about soil, many come up in between the rocks bordering the garden. It sometimes makes for crowded conditions, but it also gives me some interesting color combinations.

The plants will continue growing throughout the late fall. I have stopped pinching them, and now they will begin to bloom, sending up seed stalks for me to gather in mid-autumn. I have even dug a few up for special projects…a bit of a teaser for tomorrow’s post. Stay tuned!

Photographs – Cee’s Challenge/Light Green

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I enjoy taking part in Cee’s Fun Foto Challenges now and then. Since I have quite a few good examples of light greens in my garden today…the challenge was perfect. Here are a few examples of my Light Greens

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Many of my coleus are blooming, hopefully producing seeds for next year’s garden. I love the light green color on many of the leaves.

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Hydrangeas are another good example of a plant with a beautiful array of green, the deep green of the leaves is the perfect backdrop for the flowers, aging from pink to light green before they fall.

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I’m not sure what type of mint this plant is, but the bees don’t care about the name, they love the nectar and pollen they find in its tiny white flowers. When the bloom is finished the plant forms interesting, light green pods.

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These gigantic Nicotiana plants are volunteers. Where they came from is a mystery, but I’m glad they decided to grow in the cracks of my sidewalk and along the edge of my garden. I love the brilliant light green of the leaves. They might not have time to blossom before first frost, but I have my fingers crossed.

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Planting – A Salute to Garden Volunteers

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Anyone who has read my blog over a period of time knows that I love the garden plants that spring up as volunteers. I found a few volunteer tomato sprouts amongst my roses and blue lobelia this week. (The sprout in this post  stands to the left of the larger plant in the photograph) My best guess as to the original location of the seed was soil I used this year in my winter sowing .

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Happily for me, an empty spot in my Square Foot Garden was the perfect fit for my volunteer.  I dug up the sprout, transported it on my trowel, and planted. It’s a mystery as to the variety, and that makes it all the more fun. Oh the gardening life…what a joy!

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Pleasures & Plants – Volunteers 2014

In blog posts of past years you will find me praising the season’s “volunteer” plants. Volunteer plants are those whose seeds have slumbered in the earth through the winter. These seeds spring to life when the temperatures become warm. Volunteer plants are one of the top reasons I don’t mulch my flower beds. Besides being filled with unwanted chemicals and dyes, a heavy layer of mulch smothers any hope of volunteer sprouts seeing the sun.

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When I spotted the pink trumpet of this petunia growing in the crack of my front sidewalk I was astounded. How had the small plantlet survived the tromping feet of my grandchildren, the mailman, myself and my husband, and other visitors who come to my front door? I knew I had to try and save the petunia. It was definitely living on “borrowed time.” Sooner or later the sole of a shoe would smash it’s tender blossoms and leaves into the unyielding surface of the concrete.

I knew that pulling the petunia from the scant dirt between the sidewalk blocks would be doom. The roots that it had so steadfastly sent into the soil would be torn away and the plant would wilt and die within an hour. What was the solution? Perhaps I could loosen it a bit with a plastic knife, and then gently tug until I could pull it away from the confines of the concrete.

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Happily, for both of us, the knife worked. The plant loosened its grip, I tugged, it left its first home. The small petunia is now planted in a bare spot in my front garden. After the passing of several days, it is still alive and thriving in the hot summer sun of June.

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I have dozens of volunteer plants springing up in my gardens. At times I let them grow where they have begun, but often I dig the sprouts up and move them to bare spots. Happy Gardening!

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Check out this terrific article on the Mother Earth News Website: Volunteer Plants: A Garden Bonus