Gardening with Weeds

A combination of the flowers of three plants often considered weeds: crown vetch (Coronilla varia), common yarrow (Achillea millefolium), and common fleabane (Erigeron philadelphicus) [Nancy J. Ondra/nancyjondra.com]

Weeds: the bane of any gardener’s existence. But…are they really?

When we’re new gardeners, we figure that anything we didn’t plant is probably a weed and pull or dig it out. We eventually catch on that sometimes our “good” plants produce useful seedlings, and gradually we learn to recognize which little plants to remove and which can stay. Ah, but then there are the mystery plants–we assume they’re probably weeds (particularly if they look really strong and healthy), but we leave them just in case they might be something desirable. And sometimes they are both: technically weeds, but also interesting enough to keep—at least for a short time.

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One Plant, Three Seasons: Sanguisorba tenuifolia

Purple Japanese burnet (Sanguisorba tenuifolia var. purpurea) against the bright yellow foliage of golden elderberry (Sambucus nigra 'Aurea') [Nancy J. Ondra/hayefield.com/nancyjondra.com]

Purple Japanese burnet (Sanguisorba tenuifolia var. purpurea) against the bright yellow foliage of golden elderberry (Sambucus nigra ‘Aurea’)

Happy first full day of spring, all! Unless you’re in the other hemisphere, of course, in which case, it’s the start of autumn. We could actually split the difference and say happy winter, since it’s still decidedly wintery here, no matter what the calendar says. I wish I could have done a Bloom Day post back on the 15th, but it would have been awfully short. So instead, I decided to write about one of my favorite perennials. (By the way, I used smaller photos this time to save storage space, but you can see the high-resolution image at my stock photography site if you click on a picture.) Continue reading

Odds and Ends

'Drama Queen' poppy (Papaver) [Nancy J. Ondra/Hayefield.com]

‘Drama Queen’ poppy (Papaver)

Hey there, folks. I have some newsy stuff to cover this time, so I hope you’ll bear with me…. Continue reading

From My Garden to Yours 2017

Blackberry lily (Iris domestica [Belamcanda chinensis]) [Nancy J. Ondra/Hayefield.com]

[Edit: Please note that this offer is now closed]

It’s finally here: my yearly seed-sharing spree. This is my biggest list ever, with over 240 offerings that I’ve collected from plants growing here at Hayefield. I’m not asking for anything in payment or trade for these, except for postage; it’s just a little thank-you for those of you who take the time to visit and read throughout the year.

I’ve included something for pretty much everyone, I think—annuals, perennials, vines, woodies (shrubs and trees), herbs, edibles, and lots of natives—and have given very basic descriptions for each offering. I encourage you to use your favorite search engine to find more information and photos for the plants you’re considering.

Because my 2017 list is so long (12 pages), I’m not posting it here. You can download a PDF, RTF, or Word version from my OneDrive: Hayefield Seed List 2017. Whichever version you choose, all of the details you need to know about placing your requests are in the file with the list of seeds.

This offer is open to Hayefield readers starting today (November 15, 2017). My intention is to keep it open for one week, through November 22, 2017, but if I get overwhelmed with requests, I might need to close the offer early, so I encourage you to get your order in as soon as possible. Don’t hesitate to leave a note below or to email me directly (nan at hayefield dot com) if you have any problems accessing the lists. Have fun, my seed-loving friends!

Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day – October 2017

The Aster Path at Hayefield ~ October 2017 [Nancy J. Ondra/Hayefield.com]

Hmmm…how best to sum up the last month in the garden? I keep coming back to the punchline of an old comedy sketch called “The End of the World”–the version with Peter Cook and Rowan Atkinson: “Well…it’s, uh, not quite the conflagration we’d been banking on. Never mind, lads; same time tomorrow. We must get a winner one day.”

Certainly, I don’t mean to be ungrateful: Many things are good. Very good. But I can’t help thinking that they’d be close to perfect if a particular plant had come into bloom just a few days earlier or stayed a few days longer, or that we’d have more fall color now if the last two weeks had been properly Octobery instead of August-like. And I don’t think that’s truly being whiny or hard to please; it’s just part of what makes gardening so interesting. I cherish those few moments each year when I look around and think “Wow, this is amazing.” But if they started happening too often, then there’d be nothing to left to do, and I’d have to find a new hobby. Fortunately, I don’t see that happening any time soon.

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Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day – September 2017

Overview of the side garden at Hayefield - September 2017 [Nancy J. Ondra/Hayefield.com]

I don’t like to use the word “disappointed” in relation to the garden, particularly at this time of year. I’d hoped to be immersed in aster season by now, though, and while the plants are filled with buds, it’ll take a few more days of sunshine to really move them along. Continue reading

Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day – August 2017

Hayefield House August 2017 [Nancy J. Ondra]

Welcome to the August edition of Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day from Hayefield. Here in southeastern PA, we have been blessed with frequent rain this summer, so the garden is particularly lush right now. It’s been a busy time, trying to keep up with the vegetable harvest and collecting lots of interesting seeds. I like to give the whole garden a week or so of concentrated attention around now too: doing a thorough weeding, tidying up the edges, and making a final edit of everything else to balance heights and colors. As soon as that’s done, I can pretty much just stand back and enjoy the show for the next several months. Continue reading