Thursday, 27 August 2009

Don't hurry to cut that flower.

Posted by: Paul Gardener
A posse ad esse (From possibility to reality)

First let me offer thanks to my fellow writers here for they're patience with my recent computer problems. I've been terribly remiss with my last couple of writing obligations here and I'm so grateful to get to be back amongst their great company and all of you who frequent here.
Thank you.

Every Summer we have a chance to enjoy the beautiful flowers that grace our yards. Maybe we planted them, maybe they are "weeds" or maybe, if we're lucky, they were volunteers that came up to bless us with their pretty petals for little more than a little appreciation and some water.

Such was the case with this clump of pseudo-wild sunflowers that came up this spring.Two years ago we planted sunflowers in this spot and have been rewarded by them every year since. Last year I pulled them, because I was still in the mode of thinking that the garden was "mine". This year, for some reason, I noticed that it is much much more.

I plan the layout and I plant the seeds and sprouts, but my family and I are not the only ones that reap the rewards. As it turns out, there's a whole other facet to the garden that I knew existed, but never really paid any attention to. The natural world around the garden. It seems, as I've given more and more thought to the way that I grow and care for our garden, by using organic methods and trying to mimic nature in many ways, I've created a better and better environment for the little critters around the yard.The numbers of bees this year has been phenomenal for instance, honestly it's been like no other year that we've ever had. Even the wasps that usually are such a burden to us have been so busy with the nectar and other small nuisance insects that they've largely left us alone.One really pleasant surprise this year has been our regular visits from this sweet little couple. I'm not sure of the species, some sort of finches I suppose, but they've dropped in every night just about and flit all around eating and enjoying the seeds from the dried flowers.
So here's the best excuse that I can possibly think of for being lazy with your deadheading and pruning. SEEDS! The natural order of things means that after those flowers have been attractants for bees; providing them with pollen and nectar, then they set seed and complete their lives.

That's not when their usefulness is finished though. Look at this bunch of old flower heads...They've been picked clean. (No doubt in no small part to my cute little finch family) Many of the seeds have fallen to the ground as well. They've been pollinated by bees aplenty and will perhaps bless us next year with some interesting new variety that hasn't been seen here before. That's just how it goes.
And they don't have to just be sunflowers. Take these columbines for instance. I planted them over four years ago, and they keep moving around our yard. Unless they've suddenly taken to walking around the yard in the wee hours of the night, I'm guessing that they're spreading seed the way they were meant to as well.

I guess when some folks look into our yard late in the year, they might think it looks a little unkempt. We have some columbines that are dried and gone to seed, some sunflowers that would be considered past their "prime" and daisies that would be considered dead. (They're home to a burgeoning population of lady beetles so they've stayed as is.) When I walk around the yard though I see nature in all it's glory. The birds and the bees at it's best.

So keep an eye on not just the beauty that your garden holds skin deep. Give it a chance to show you what is possible if you just stand back and watch.