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Should I try to maintain organization, or let the garden go?

Posted by docmom z5 MI (My Page) on
Tue, Jul 12, 11 at 21:52

I have a very well established butterfly garden with many mature perennials and a great variety of host and nectar plants. Due to the moist spring, I now have literally hundreds of volunteer seedlings of many of my most valuable plants. The problem, if it is even a problem, is that the volunteers did not stay in the previously semi-neat groupings or beds that I had originally created. My question is, should I try to transplant things in the fall into more controlled groupings? Should I pot up some of the seedlings and give/sell them to interested people? Or should I let it continue to be a very natural-appearing and carefree mish mash? In some cases, the plants really are going to get too crowded. So I'll certainly move/remove some plants. It's also getting hard to move around through the garden, so I will re-create some access paths.

If I decide to pot up plants, should I shake the soil from the roots and put them in commercial potting soil? Or should I fill in the holes with commercial soil and keep the original soil around the roots? I suppose that depends on whether I'm more concerned about the health of the transplants or the quality of the soil left in the garden. What have others done in their gardens?

Plants that I have off the top of my head:

Asclepias tuberosa (hundreds)
A. incarnata (thousands)
A. "Red"
Joe Pye Weed
Woodland Sunflower
Downy Sunflower
Wild Blue Lupne
Black-Eyed Susan
Obedient Plant
Coreopsis (annual)
Monarda (several types)
Virginia Creeper
Anise Hyssop
Golden Alexander
New England Aster

Who wants some? I look forward to any thoughts.


Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Should I try to maintain organization, or let the garden go?

My garden has turned into a "free for all" because of all the seedlings that have taken over. I'd probably try to control it, if I had it to do over. Health issues got in the way, and now I spend a lot of time removing unwanted plants each year.

When you dig up the seedlings, leave the dirt on the roots and just add potting soil to the pots to fill them. I've found the less I mess with the little plants, the better they do when transplanted or potted. Your friends will love you for sharing your babies.

Good luck.


RE: Should I try to maintain organization, or let the garden go?

Be sure to share with all of your neighbors. The more people in the neighborhood you can get to grow plants for the butterflies, the more butterflies you will bring to the 'hood' for your enjoyment!

It's a Win-Win situation!


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