Weeds vs. volunteers. Every gardener knows the one word definition of each: weed=unwanted, volunteer=dandy! While it’s true that volunteers occasionally get out of control and drift into the “unwanted” zone, they’re generally easy to remove and back off gracefully.
So, herewith a sampling of both categories of plants observed in my garden during the past week.
Bindweed: In areas where it’s taken hold, almost impossible to get rid of, very vigorous growth, and capable of strangling a Russian soldier in full winter gear. Convolvulus arvenis.
Galinsoga: A South American invasive that colonized (also known as “gallant solider”) my garden about 25 years ago, loves cultivated ground, makes me crazy. G. quadriradiata.
Cheeses: This one is sneaky ’cause it’s got a nice flower–its other name is “common mallow”–but don’t let it seduce you. Malva neglecta.
Quack grass and Jerusalem artichoke: Okay, no explanation needed about quack grass. Jerusalem artichoke should NOT be planted in or near your garden, even if you love it as a vegetable. It’s far too aggressive. Helianthus tuberosus.
On to the favored volunteers…
Nicotiana: large plant, white flowers, very fragrant at dusk, easy to pull out when unwanted. N. alata.
Nicotiana: purple/pink. I think the white nicotiana is more fragrant. Both close relatives of tobacco.
Dill and Coriander/Cilantro: welcome herbal volunteers, re-seed more than once a season. Anethum graveoleous, Coriandrum sativum.
Spearmint and Calendula (plus a few volunteer sunflowers): The mints spread readily, so beware. Once you plant calendula, you’ll never have to plant again. An annual that successfully self seeds. Mentha spicata, Calendula arvensis.
Looks innocent now, but we all know what’s coming–humongous zucchinis!
And, then, there’s zucchini! Which doesn’t volunteer, but can take over our lives, eh? This is a photo of zucchini in my garden taken earlier this week. We’ve been eating baby zucchini in salads and stir fries.
What are you ripping gleefully from your garden…or nurturing like a mother hen? I have some photos from other gardeners I’ll be sharing here in a few days. Email your garden photos–of good or bad–to firstname.lastname@example.org
Tags: agriculture, gardening, vegetables, weeds