Calling All Volunteers   2 comments

Just like schools and hospitals depend upon their volunteers, a gardener does as well. Some take a while to show up, but volunteers can save you a lot of time, and space under the grow lights. Most can be moved to where you want them, just wait until late in the day, when the sun has gone down, or they are in the shade. Transplant, water well, give them overnight to recover before the sun beats down on them again, and they should be fine. Here are the ones that I use:

I planted cosmos in this area from seed for about 2 summers, now for the past 3 summers, I rely entirely on volunteers. I’d say I move about 50% of them into better spots, and 50% of them come up exactly where I want them. I use this group to compliment my asparagus plants during the summer, give some color, and the leaf textures are similar and blend together nicely.  Here is a view of the whole row, today (asparagus on left, cosmos on right):

And here are cosmos from last summer, in full bloom:


This is a late starter. This photo was just taken yesterday.  There are 4 creeping zinnia plants in this photo, as well as some small volunteer portulaca.  It’s very easy to pull these out as weeds, so you have to remember to look for them in the same spot as last year’s plants.  Here’s another one that is a volunteer and is much further along.  This is just one plant:

Here’s a photo of creeping zinnia from last summer, in case you don’t know what it looks like.  It’s a great little plant to hang over walkways and baskets.  It’s the one that looks like little black eyed susans:


Nicotiana, or flowering tobacco, comes back easily the next year, and early.  The leaves are a little fuzzy, so it’s pretty easy to differeniate them from weeds.  Here were the size of mine yesterday:


This was a surprise this year.  I had started some inside, but only ended up with 2 plants.  And I meant to buy a 6 pack, but hadn’t gotten around to it, then I noticed a couple days ago some “weeds” right near where I planted the ageratum last year that look very similar to the leaves of the 2 ageratum that I had already planted there.  Here are the volunteers, taken yesterday:

And here is one that I had started in a pot from seed this spring (it’s sandwiched in between 2 veronica plants):


I planted this for the first time last summer, and had read that it self-seeded.  But to be sure, I planted some plants indoors again this spring.  Sure enough, as I was planting the seedlings I started, I noticed some volunteers.  This is what they look like:

And this is what they look like in bloom (photo from last summer), also called verbena bonariensis:


Posted July 2, 2008 by cindyeo in ageratum, cosmos, garden, nicotiana, verbena, zinnia

2 responses to “Calling All Volunteers

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  1. Wow that Asparagus is HUGE. How many years have you had it? We started some this year before fully researching it and ended up having to get rid of it. We didn’t start it in the best place for it to come back every year. I haven’t decided if I want to try again next year, but seeing yours sure pushes me in that direction.

  2. We planted that asparagus in the spring of 04. It takes about 3 years for the bed to get fully established, which ours is now. I highly recommend it, not only do you get to eat it in the spring, but it’s quite attractive during the summer. I plant the cosmos behind it, and larkspur in front of it, which also comes up as volunteers, although not as reliably.

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