Thursday, May 28, 2009

Free Plants

This is a lovely tall bearded iris that is blooming now. I have no idea what its name is, or even if it is a named variety. It arrived as a small plant, mixed in with one of the bags of leaves that the city of Athens delivers to us to use a mulch and for making compost. We regularly find cast offs from the town folks in the fall - ferns and chrysanthemums are the most common, but also any manner of plants they don't want to keep over the winter. We rescue them and give them a good home if we can. I've gotten some really lovely things that way. I have 2 clumps of Dianthus, a lovely pink and white, that have been here for at least 4 years now, increasing in size every years, that someone had thrown away. One of our favorite light pink chrysanthemums was originally a cast off. I pot up a piece of it every fall to keep in the greenhouse and then make lots of cuttings from it in the spring to plant out. We also, on occasion, get a whole bag full of someone's tomato plants, complete with not quite ripe tomatoes, that they have ripped out and thrown away. These fruits have ripened quite nicely in my kitchen to provide quite a few meals. In my bathroom window are 2 pots of philodendron, one with large leaves, one with small, that also arrived via the trash. I know this is not the usual way to add to ones collection, but it's always like Christmas or my birthday when I start emptying the bags in the fall, never knowing what sort of surprises will appear.
Weather here is certainly tropical lately - sort of like you need gills to breathe. We had just under an inch of rain yesterday and lots more rain expected today. The weeds will probably be permanently ahead of me after this, but everything (weeds included, unfortunately) is just so lush and green - much moreso than we have seen in a number of years with droughty summers. I will just enjoy it and try to overlook the worst of the weeds and then spend a lot of time getting rid of them once the rains stop which should be tomorrow. Several tour groups are coming to see the gardens in mid June, so I need to spend a lot of time neatening up the weeds (actually not neatening them up, but rather sending them to the compost heap) and taking walks with my pruning shears to re-open paths where plants have gotten a bit overenthusiastic after all of this rain. Hank likes the 'jungle look', but I find it a bit tiring after awhile to take garden walks where I feel like I need a machete just to wander around the garden. A little jungle is OK, but a bit more formality and order is needed in most places. Hopefully I can get to it by tomorrow when the rains let up for a few days. If anyone out there just loves to pull out thistle, I have at least a half acre that is thick with it right now (really a daylily bed, but you can't tell anymore) and would gladly offer plants in exchange for willing volunteers.


CanadianGardenJoy said...

My goodness Jane we are having the same wet weather and my vines are creeping towards my neighbor's house .. let alone the weeds being way to happy looking .. I'm also hoping to get in the garden tomorrow as well .. crossed fingers for both of us !

Squeaky said...

That's so awesome that you rescue cast off plants. I'm not sure why, but it's such a sweet sentiment that it brings tears to my eyes.

I'm located in Nelsonville (found you through a link in your freecycle ad) and thought I would check out your blog. You've got another regular reader now, I'm hooked!

As far as weeds go, my grandfather, my family's king of gardening, gave me the advice to always leave a patch where the weeds can grow free. Most weeds bring an astonishing amount of bees to pollinate. So far, in my own experience, it's been true! Of course my plants still don't look half as good as his did....hmmm. :)