Wednesday, July 19, 2023

Explore Outdoors ~ Spider Flowers

 Last year I planted some of these flowers. They are called "spider flowers" and cleome, and grew as tall as me (five feet tall, if you must know). 

I planted them for the hummingbirds and hummingbird moths, butterflies and bees - you can see where a leafcutter bee has snipped out a bit of petal. And I planted them for their color and their fragile beauty. You may recall a post from late September in which, while looking at the seed pods, I wondered whether they would re-seed.

Yes, they do - but only where I didn't want them. Did the seeds grow in the flower bed? No. Did the seeds grow where I planted lettuce this year? Of course! Plants growing where you don't want them is the definition of "weed". But instead of calling them "weeds," I referred to them as "volunteers." Rather than yank the seedlings out, I let them grow a couple of weeks and have been transplanting them around the garden: to the flower bed, in amongst the tomatoes. I can't wait to see the birds and bees and butterflies visit this year's blooms.

This week, look for "volunteers" growing in your garden and yard. Did they come from seedpods of last year's plants? Did they fly on the wind? Were they dropped by birds or carried by ants? How do plants take root in a new place?

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