Thursday, July 03, 2008

Gentle Fire ...

I haven't yet devoted a post to some of our most faithful self-seeding annuals, so I thought I'd sneak a couple of shots in, just to show who has been revving up lately out front. Two of the things I love about self-seeding annuals is that for one, you always end up with some each year, and they have a tendency to wander around the garden a bit, popping up in unexpected places, as well as establishing their own stands here and there. These are just two of our more fiery ones who always come back to visit from year to year. The first is the marvelous California Poppy (Eschscholzia californica) and the second is the common 'Pot Marigold,' Calendula (Calendula officinalis).

Both of these flowers bloom primarily in the fiery range of oranges and yellows, but they also exhibit some wonderful and subtle variations in color from flower to flower. The past few years we've had some rather strange Calendula 'sports' develop in one area of the front boulder bed, and I'm anticipating seeing those again, they're just so bizarre! (If you'd like to see them, go here, and scroll down to the "Summertime Sports" post.) There's a lot to be said for annual self-seeders ... you don't have to replant them every year, they're very cost effective for gardeners like us, who want to snatch up so much when we're plant shopping that the bill can be sobering at times, and certain species are quite receptive to cross pollination that produce interesting variants (our Celosias seem to be quite susceptible to this). Of course sometimes the 'mutants' are outright ugly, but around here, they don't usually get a chance to make a return visit and head straight for the compost. It may seem cruel at first for us to practice 'unnatural selection,' but over the years we've learned our lesson about just letting things run rampant in the garden. That happened with Feverfew and Tansy, and after having had to eradicate those (which took several years), we're less prone to let the second tier contenders have their way ....

7 comments:

Roses and Lilacs said...

Good morning. I have never tried growing the California poppies. Looks like I'm missing out on a good plant. Love the photo, such a bright yellow.

Hope you all have a wonderful 4th of July?
Marnie

Shady Gardener said...

I think I might need a few California poppy seeds in my sunny corner, don't you? ;-) Now, my friends, you need to visit Mr. Brownthumb. He's been taking some sort of hiatus, but he's back and he just posted something you will LOVE! :-)
http://mrbrownthumb.blogspot.com/

Gail said...

After a wonderful visit to lake Tahoe in June many years ago, I planted CA poppies. It was back when we used to get snow...and I planted per the instuctions by sprinkling them on the snow. They were so cute but that was it! I tried again in different spots, nada poppy in sight!
Maybe next year! Love yours and the link led to a wonderful photo.

gail

boran2 said...

I like that, unnatural selection. The gardener as unilateral decider. ;-)

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

Hi there Marnie!
You should give them a shot, and once they have a good year and drop a lot of seed, you don't often need to replant, though we usually throw a few more seeds out every fall after frost. See if you can pick up a pack this summer and wait until after frost to broadcast them in a sunny bed and you should see them next spring. Botanical Interests sells a nice big pack at a reasonable price that would plant up a BIG area.

Hope you have a great holiday weekend as well ... let your garden light up the skies!

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

Hey Shady,
I think we've already got your sunny end planned, but these would be great! They're only maybe 5-6" tall and won't compete with the taller stuff.

I did check out Mr. Brownthumb's place and took a quick look at that tulip. Looks to be a really deep purple, but it's lovely. And that was too nice what you said about me in the comments. :-)

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

Howdy B2!
Glad you liked that turn of phrase, but sometimes that's how it now occurs to me, especially with the odder sports that show up. A few years back we had some Purple Coneflowers mutate into this bizarre mishapened double green blooms, and that was quickly removed, never to return. Same thing with those fancy daffodils that reverted to plain old stinky 'Paper Whites.' ACK