by Sandy Swegel
Your task this week is to go stand in the part of your garden that has wildflower-y plants. You’ll notice two things. The first thing is that there are lots of spent flowers and seed heads that need to be deadheaded. Everything from rudbeckia to dill to penstemon has mature seed heads. You can always collect these seeds and put them in little envelopes to save for spring or you can take my lazy way out and Snip off the seed head and Fling it in the general direction you’d like it to grow next year. Flowering plants always seem to migrate to the edge of the garden bed and need some encouragement to move to the middle and back of the bed. Keep flinging seeds knowing that some of them will germinate right in the place they fall…so Fling merrily.
Your second assignment is to find a spring or early summer bloomer and stand in front of it. A Columbine or Penstemon, Agastache and Echinacea are good possibilities. Often right at the feet of these now finished beauties are dozens of little plants or even seedlings that have germinated in the past month and are growing next year’s plants. I take my hori-hori knife and gently dig or carve out (we have lots of clay soil) a nice plug of soil that keeps the baby plants roots intact and plant it where I’d like more plants. If the plant is young and you didn’t disturb the roots much, there won’t be transplant shock…just a new perennial that will bloom next year.
Whether you are flinging seeds or digging up plant plugs, you’ve saved yourself a lot of time and fussing with seed starting trays under lights and you’ve tricked Mother Nature into letting those perennials bloom giving you more flowers next year. New plants easy, quick and free. That’s my kind of gardening.