Shady Way Gardens Bits and Briefs December 2004


This is the time of year that the holiday spirit, and probably the weather too, seem to trump the gardening spirit. The landscape, however, is sporting a carpet of little green things after an infusion of much needed rain.  Off to a rip roariní start, many of these little green things  will wither away if the the weather now  remains warm and dry.  If Nature does not oblige us with well spaced precipitation, and you think some of your green things might be wildflowers, youíll have to keep them moist if you want a spring bloom. Interestingly, the green things that we donít want to live (weeds!) seem to struggle through regardless and produce another seed crop for next year. Remember, itís much easier to spray or hoe out weeds when they are small like now.


The green things below are a sampling of some weeds you probably wonít want to complete their life cycle.

  Mustard Seedling

Boerhaavia Seedling

Tribulus Seedling

Cheeseweed Seedling

Sow Thistle

Russian Thistle


The green things below here are a few of the seedlings you may want to nurture to maturity.

  Encelia Seedlings

Penstemon parryi Seedling

California Poppy Seedling

Globe Mallow Seedling

African Daisy Seedling

Baileya Seedling


Filaree  or Heronís Bill (Erodium circutarium) is a common winter growing annual introduced from Europe as a livestock forage and presented in many wildflower books.  Indeed it is a cuty. Its flat rosettes almost look like big, green snowflakes on the ground, and its small, lavender flowers are cute too.  So how could this plant be a rogue?  Well, if they are in an area that gets lots of moisture they get big and rank. The problem for us and our pets comes when their seeds, typical of all Geranium family members, ripen. They are not called Heronís Bill for nothing.  What does a Heron do?  It stabs other living creatures with its bill.  So too do the sharp, corkscrew-like seeds of  these cute plants. They love shoes, socks and pet fur. 


As holiday season approaches, holiday plants become available.  One of these is Cyclamen, a durable, flowering pot plant for your well lighted interior or shady patio. Did you know that Cyclamen can be planted outside here in the ground?  They have tubers and are dormant and leafless through the summer.  When the plants begin to lose their leaves in April or so, instead of throwing them away, plant them out in a shady area in rich, well drained soil with the tuber slightly raised above soil level. Water occasionally throughout the summer.  There are many species of Cyclamen which occur naturally in the Middle East and Mediterranean regions, but the ones commonly available are the Floristís Cyclamen (Cyclamen persicum).  This plant has been hybridized such that many flower colors (white through shades of red,pink, and rose) and sizes are available.  Most people are so taken with the flowers that they donít notice the wonderful silvery blotches and unique patterns of the leaves.  In past centuries Cyclamen roots were used in medicines and potions to cure a host of ailments.  And hereís one Ö.

if you mix it with wine it makes you drunk!

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Web Comments December 13, 2004 © Shady Way Nursery 2004