As I slogged through my perennial beds pulling weeds the other day, the little boy who lives across the street came out and began dancing around and yelling COME ON SUNSHINE! My sentiments exactly; we’ve had something like 9 straight days where it has rained at least once in 24 hours, and we’ve seen little sunshine.
But it’s not all bad; weeds pull a lot easier when the soil is moist. Weeding can’t stop just because it rains because, as the old saying goes, one year of seeds equals seven years of weeds.
The lightning we’ve had converts gaseous atmospheric nitrogen into a soluble form that plants can use, and it is estimated that 30 million tons of fixed nitrogen fall from the sky each year world wide. That’s a lot of free fertilizer. The plants love it, but if my lawn gets much more water and nitrogen I might have to start mowing twice a week.
It was also a good time to transplant so I moved a few foxgloves that insist on coming up in the front, rather than the back of the beds. Foxglove is a biennial, so it has only leaves the first year and then flowers the second. The mother plants then die, but their seeds live on. I had one foxglove many years ago and the seedlings have been here ever since. I also have so many columbine and hosta seedlings that I don’t know what to do with them all. I’m never quick to rush out and dead head plants as soon as they finish blossoming because letting them go to seed often means pleasant surprises in the following years.
Speaking of seedlings, as I limbed up a maple that was shading out part of the garden I noticed that the pink lady’s slipper that grows on the edge of the woods has now become five lady’s slippers. Conditions have to be perfect for lady’s slipper seed to germinate because the seeds don’t have an internal food supply like most plants. Though scientists don’t fully understand it, they know that lady’s slippers rely on Rhizoctonia fungus threads in the soil to attach themselves to their seeds and break them open. After the plant has grown it returns the favor and lets the fungus soak up nutrients from it. These plants are rare and endangered and I’m happy they like it here.
I was also able to get more fertilizing done. You don’t realize how many plants you have until you feed each one. It takes me a few hours to do them all, so I’ve got to stop getting new ones. (As if that will ever happen) In spite of all the rain it was a productive weekend, but I’m still ready for some sunshine. Maybe the boy across the street dancing his sun dance will help.