Some gardeners mark the planting location of every bulb and garden seed. Others keep a garden journal with the plantings duly recorded in dated entries. But, alas, I am not among their numbers.
I am the kind of a gardener who hits the garden store to buy some potting soil and comes home with 10 different kinds of bulbs or packets of seeds. It’s not that I don’t plant them- I do! But life moves so fast it’s hard to keep hold of what I planted where. That makes for many happy surprises in springtime.
Random Planting Locations
When I say that I plant my seeds and bulbs in random locations, I don’t mean that I toss them into the air and let they grow where they lie. I find an appropriate location, with the exposure the particular plant needs, and plant it – seed or bulb – with a lot of care.
But since most of the beds in my garden have good afternoon sun exposure, I never quite know what is where. And did I end up buying the tulips or the crocuses? Who remembers this stuff?
It is an odd system but one that works for me. Since I have no expectations come spring, I am never disappointed. No tulips? I must have bought the crocuses and moved them into that planting location. Whatever does appear and grow is a happy surprise.
Then of course, there are the happy surprises of reseeder plants, those that take it upon themselves to make their own comeback. California poppies are number one on the list of reseeder plants that create their own destiny, but they aren’t alone. Have you ever tried to plant one nasturtium? Or to limit the salvia to a couple square feet? Good luck.
But my biggest surprises this year have been in the compost pile. Since I am a fan of avocados, lots of avocado pits end up in the compost pile. Then, come spring, I discover many of the pits have grown into avocado plants.
I have never officially grown an avocado in my garden, but I have done the avocado thing with toothpicks and a glass of water in the house. So, I know what avocado plants look like. I currently have 12 of them growing in the compost heap, one almost 3 feet (1m) tall. It will be an even greater surprise if they produce avocados, but for the moment, the plants themselves are a big enough wonder.
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Teo Spengler has been gardening for 30 years. She is a docent at the San Francisco Botanical Garden. Her passion is trees, 250 of which she has planted on her land in France.
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