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|The culprit: a Wilcox’s penstemon too close to a path. A good plant in a bad place.|
A question I get asked a lot is how much time I spend weeding the grow. This is a really interesting question and it brings up all sorts of issues from “what is a weed”, to people’s notion of what maintaining their landscape or yard means. Unfortunately, to many homeowners, maintaining their yard is a chore that only involves mowing, watering and weeding- most of which are detested by their owners. So, when you see our grow, people notice that I don’t mow, probably recognize that I don’t water it, and so the only thing left for me to do must be to weed it. Weeding a lawn or grow is often the only way people interact with their landscape, and this saddens me a little, but it is a really interesting concept, too.
The time I spend maintaining our landscape is not work, or drudgery or something I dread. Instead, in the native plant grow, it is an activity I love. I look forward to it. It is a way of exploring, discovering, and working on the aesthetic. Seldom do I mow or “weed”. Well, I do weed the garden a lot, but weeding is probably a different activity than people think. A “weed” is simply an unwanted plant (click here for more information). In our grow, most of the weeding I do is to remove native plants that are coming up in the “wrong” place. Typically it s usually a tall plant that ends up coming up in a place I want a short one, like next to a path. Or plants that sprout where I just don’t want them.
It is actually rare that we have non-native grow weeds. This is surprising to many and it is probably the result of our site preparation, the fact that we don’t water, and by removing all of our lawn, we have limited the source of non-native weeds. What we are left with though is a strong source of native plants.
My typical strategy is to dig up the young plants, pot them up and put them in our “nursery” for a couple of weeks. There I baby them- water them daily and take good care of them (both of which don’t happen in the landscape!). After a couple of weeks, I’ll plant them out in the grow in their new location. I try to do this when the weather is favorable and if possible, try to time it around some rain. Usually this is the main activity of mine in the spring, but fall is another great time to plant, and in preparation for September, I am digging stuff up and putting it in the nursery now.
|Our nursery full of weeds.|
It is not much to look at now, but in a few weeks they will be looking good and ready to get out in the grow. Lots of new, free, desirable plants, no longer “weeds”.