This double columbine is a lovely flower growing in the wrong place. It’s a lost seedling, far away from its parent plants which are clear across the yard in another flower bed.
It is just one of my blooms that I’ll be showing on my blog for Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day on the 15th of this month. Remember bloom day? The day to post on your blog about what is blooming in your garden, so that we can compare and contrast what is blooming in our gardens on the same day.
And it’s easy to participate. Just post about your blooms on the 15th of the month and then leave a comment on my bloom day post so we can find you.
The reason this columbine is in the wrong place is because it is right in the middle of a low thicket of Forsythia x intermedia ‘Arnold Dwarf’.
I hacked this forsythia back to the ground last fall, fully intending to also pull it out, but time got away from me, it got cold and I left it for another day.
This spring, this bed was still full of this forsythia.
No winter miracle occurred to kill this plant. In fact, hacking it back last fall seemed to have increased its resolve to live.
So I took matters into my own hands today. With the help of a grub hoe and one of those heavy duty hand tools that has a forked end and a straight end, I hacked back that forsythia, pried out as many roots as I could and reclaimed that bed for better plants.
Here you can see the grub hoe and the hand tool in the cleared out bed, resting from their labors.
The grub hoe isn’t a tool I use every day or even every year, but it sure comes in handy when I have some hard grubbing to do, like today. There is no way I could have cleared this bed on my own without the grub hoe.
I can raise this hoe up over my head and then slam it down beside a clump of roots. Then I pull back and forth on the handle, lever style, to work the hoe head under the roots and pry them out. I’m not that strong, but fortunately, the grub hoe is heavy duty and can do a lot of the work for me.
Though I am pretty certain that the forysthia isn’t going to grow back from what roots are left in this bed, I’m going to wait until fall before I plant anything “permanent” here.
For now, I’ll run a cultivator through this bed, smooth it out, add some compost and then sow some zinnia seeds. They’ll be pretty this summer and should any forsythia roots send up a shoot or two, I can easily take care of them. Then in the fall, I can remove the zinnias and plant something new here.
I did learn a lesson, again, from this mess. I learned that not all forsythia are “nice shrubs” and that plant tags often have hidden messages on them.
Let me share the description on the tag, which I still have after ten years.
“Early-flowering deciduous shrub with bright yellow flowers appearing in spring before leaves emerge. Very compact growth habit. Medium green leaves appear after blooms. Use as a hedge or in mass plantings.”
The last sentence should have tipped me off. Hedge? Mass Planting? Now I know this means ‘suckers all over the place’. Oh, and the bright yellow flowers? This forsythia hardly flowered at all.
Read plant tags carefully for these ‘hidden messages’! And if you still aren’t sure about a plant after reading the label, look up the variety on the Internet to get more information. It will save you in the long run from being disappointed and from having a lot of work to do to remove the plant when it isn’t what you thought it would be.
Bye, bye ‘Arnold Dwarf’, take your tag and don’t come back. I have two better forsythia to enjoy, ‘Gold Tide’ and ‘Show Off’, so I don’t need your kind, ‘Dwarf Arnold’ who barely bloomed in the ten years you were here.
We should compile a list of ‘mis-leading’ plant descriptions and key words used on plant tags that seem like good things but are really bad things. Then we can publish the list on the Internet to warn all gardeners. Anyone like to contribute a favorite? Let’s see, there’s ‘prolific’, ‘spreads’, ‘good for mass plantings’…