Wednesday, November 30, 2016
End of November Green
On occasion our gardening blunders can be attributed to ignorance. In this instance, the choice to cultivate an invasive nonnative was made with full understanding of both the plants history and nature. Sweet Rocket is a common roadside weed in our area. It grew here prior to our ownership of this land and it will continue to call here home long after we are gone. Its pleasantly scented flowers are also frequently colored an attractive purple. Color and scent make this plant a sure winner. It is easy to understand why early European settlers brought seeds of this attractive plant with them.
A biennial habit and a stout tap root present problems when trying to transplant Dame's Rocket. These three plants were moved early in the year while they were still small. Their color is unknown but we would like to see purple and perhaps a single white. If these plants please us and if we cut them back after they flower, a second year of flowers might happen. Cutting the immature seeds heads is prudent in one wishes to avoid weeding out many deeply rooted seedlings.
This area is our spearmint patch. Three clove currants were also planted here. Since the roots of the clove currants run deep and mint's roots hold the upper ground, we planted them together. A couple of Dame's Rocket transplants were thrown in for good measure. They dropped a carpet of seed so we will be weeding here. Five minutes of timely pruning would have saved us much difficult weeding.
The low meadow in the back has been given over to goldenrod and milkweed. Our considerate neighbors have two horses and little land that is suitable for grazing. Last season some mowing was done here to discourage the weeds and favor the grass. The first step in the process is to slowly drive my truck across the area searching out mower killing rocks and leg breaking woodchuck dens. Next spring we will mow here with the blades set high. When the growth is more suitable to the horses taste perhaps they can keep the grass short and the weeds gone.
Becky spotted this wintergreen berry from the truck. It looks like there were several fruits on a single stem earlier in the year. Neither of us recall seeing multiple fruits. That will give us something to look for next year. When there are more berries, we have been known to eat a few. We are both old Teaberry gum fans. The reddish pink new spring growth is tasty as well, but we do not harvest them unless the patch is well established.
All of our attempts to cultivate wintergreen have failed. Clearing the briers away from a wild patch made it easy for the deer to graze the plants into oblivion. I throw light brush over the wintergreen to make it difficult for the deer to eat here. The neighbor's dogs also help to protect these plants. The wisest course of action would be to enjoy wintergreen as a naturally wild plant.