self seeding garden?
do you have a garden bed in which a substantial fraction of the plants are self seeding from year to year? If so, how do you maintain it?
For several years I've had a 40x4' bed with foxglove as the major self seeder, and various minor ones, with roses and perennials mostly. More recently I added a bed (wraps around a wellhouse, maybe 70 sq feet) that has a few herbaceous perennials but mostly self seeders. For the long bed my habit is to prune and tidy in early spring, rearranging perennials as needed, then wait till around now, when the seedlings are up & identifiable & large enough to handle. Then rearrange them some, weed, and mulch. Time consuming but hey we love gardening don't we?
This year I am having a much harder time with the maintenance. Large sheets of tiny seedlings - foxgloves in the long garden and snaps in the other - and it's now clear that there are plenty of weeds amid the snaps. (there are also a few foxglove, and rose campions, and bleeding hearts all seeding.) I keep thinking that the easiest thing to do is just dig a tray of the strongest seedlings, then hoe and mulch the bed, and replant. Doesn't that seem silly???? Should I just let them fight it out, and pull the weeds as I may? I really wonder what the traditional approach was, if indeed it wasn't highly personalized.
What do you do?? In the big garden, the seedlings like to come up under the skirts of the perennials, so the tray method seems more necessary. However in a bed that is really dominated by the self seeders... what should be my goal? to encourage a balance of varieties? to hoe down to the number and locations that I would have transpanted, if doing them from transplants??