Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Hey, I Didn't Plant That!

Day 221
The Daily DuBrule

It happens to me all the time. I plant something wonderful and enjoy it all season. Fall arrives and the warm days continue. Halloween comes and goes and I don't get around to cutting back the late bloomers until Thanksgiving time. Meanwhile, these plants are busy dropping seed everywhere. For the past four years, Salvia coccinea 'Lady in Red' has appeared near my water garden. Trust me, it's been a LONG time since I actually purchased and planted this graceful tender perennial salvia in the large, shallow bowl that hides the pump equipment. 

During the spring and summer I constantly noticed the babies appearing but didn't do anything about them. Bright red just doesn't work any more in my supposedly serene courtyard garden. I originally thought it would make a good hummingbird nectar flower- it did. But my thoughts have changed and now I am using softer, paler colors in this place where I relax in the evening. 

By late summer, it was so darn hot that I pretty much quit weeding for a while. Then I had a giant pile of mulch to spread and it went elsewhere, to needier areas of the yard. The water garden got ignored. One cool, drizzly Monday afternoon I decided to tackle it. I grubbed out all the crabgrass and other weeds but I couldn't bring myself to dig out 'Lady in Red'. With fall around the corner I thought "why not keep it".
The hummingbirds are long gone so it doesn't do them any good. Butterflies fly in on their way south and nectar on this flower occasionally. It still bothers my design sensibility to see this screaming red flower growing where it is. Last year I dug all the babies up at one point and put them in pots on the deck. I should have done that again.
I will leave it where it is and let it go to seed. It will look a lot more at home when my threadleaf Japanese maple nearby turns to brilliant orange in a little while. BUT, next year, all the free babies I get will quickly be scooped up and put in pots. I will then have hummingbird plants in the summer, when the hummingbirds are around.  I'll even give a bunch away to my friends when they visit. There will be plenty to share. I promise myself I won't leave them by the water garden. Now let's see how I do on this, one of many promises and pledges I am making to myself as 20/20 hindsight helps me plan for 2013.


  1. I am an hour west of Toronto. Today I saw a hummingbird. You may still have a few lingering...

  2. I'll take some off your hands! And Marie is right--I am still seeing a hummingbird on my deck. They are still a few here!

  3. I grew salvia Lady in Red in an area where I had grouped containers around near them. Seeds fell into the pots and now I have several pots of Lady in Red seedlings.

    You don't have to dig your seedlings up and pot them... just leave a few containers with potting soil in them scattered about near your stand of salvia. They'll sow themselves into the pots and do the work for you! Mine did -- much to my amusement.

    The hummers went wild for my Lady in Red -- it was blooming well before they left this year.

    1. Thanks you guys, I might just be working too hard with my head down to see the hummers. Lord knows I have enough plants that they like! Placing pots under the plants-GENIUS! Nancy :)