I wanted to make a few points about plant selection in your own gardens. This is not only for those few advanced gardeners but rather, it’s for every gardener out there.
I want you to imagine you have Aquilegia in your garden. This is a self-sowing sweetheart that … well, let’s just say it’s promiscuous and self-sows everywhere it can. And like all flowers, there are a few really good blooms that emerge from the seeds and a few duds.
When I see a dud (a flower I don’t like) in my garden, I dig it up, weed it out immediately. I don’t allow it to set seed and give me even more duds. I only allow the plants I want to thrive and set seed.
This is true for all plants. Mayo has been selecting some of the tomatoes we grow for earliness as well as the more traditional characteristics of the variety. Over a few years, we’ll have a somewhat earlier strain of these plants.
Think of all the self-sowing plants you might have (hollyhocks, lupines, digitalis, etc) and then start doing the same thing. Pick the colours you really like, allow those to set seed. Dig out the others as soon as you decide you don’t like them. Over the years, you’ll get the colour of plant you really like more and more. 🙂
Here are two pictures that illustrate this. Can you spot the plant I’m about to save in the top picture? It’s a bunch of volunteer maple seedlings in one of my flower beds I’m currently moving.
This is the one I’m really saving.
It’s red before any of the other seedlings. I’m saving some of them as well because I want some more hard maples around the property but this one was given special treatment and planted into my new micronursery bed as the first plant to be grown there.
But just because it’s red before the others doesn’t make it a great tree. It may not repeat this performance next year. It may be a really slow grower or .. well, it could have a lot of things wrong with it. But for now, it turned red first, well before the others and this might make it special in the garden.
And it’s the “mights” that gardeners get to dream on. 🙂