The Sunday Mail
CAN one really create a “Garden of Eden” in one’s property? How can you achieve such a feat?
A “Garden of Eden” is such a garden that one need not continuously plant new plants but the garden just self-seeds. A garden that produces its own seed can truly be self-sufficient.
New plants emerge without the gardener’s effort to sow new seeds or having to source for these.
It is quite possible to have such a garden by choosing those plants that have the self-sowing capabilities. You do have to do one thing for these plants, that is, to let their flowers mature and set fruit. Have you noticed how when you grow a tomato plant, for example, and let its fruit drop into the ground, you will soon have a couple of new plants growing in its place.
There are many plants with this uncanny ability to multiply themselves, but of course, you need to watch out for those plants that have the potential to become weeds, much to your displeasure.
Self-sowing plants, however, need some form of management. The vigorous ones being clipped before they set seed.
Self-sowing plants are not necessarily weeds but each case must be studied separately. The advantage with this group of plants is that sometimes to introduce them into your garden for the first time you just have to throw a few seeds into the garden and water. Like magic they will sprout.
Self-sowing plants are the gurus for low maintenance gardens.
The first step in setting up your Garden of Eden is to choose the best plants from reputable dealers.
The way our grannies used to save the best varieties for future plantings. You can transplant your plants if too many appear in one site.
There are also times when you really need to renew the soil, it will be a good idea to wait until your plants seed and collect some of that good seed for future distribution in your favourite spots in the garden.
Many annuals fall into this group of plants. We have the likes of calendula, nasturtium, zinnias, celosia, poppy, petunia, sweet alyssum and viola. Some herbs such as basil, parsley, chamomile, borage, and celery.
You can also include some vegetables in your selection namely pepper, amaranth, spinach, tomato and okra. Quite a large group of perennials fall into this category as well. Plant acanthus mollis (flowering rhubarb), allium schoenoprasum (chives), campanula (bellflower), dianthus barbatus (sweet william), impatiens (buzzy lizzie) and chrysanthemum parthenium (feverfew).
The list is by no means exhausted, we also have the likes of fennel, sunflower, foxglove, morning glory, cosmos, beans, cucumber, mustard green (tsunga), periwinkle, cleome, balsam, sage, asparagus fern, basil, marigolds and rudbeckia.
Through your own experiments and observation you can also discover many more plants, which will suit your “Garden of Eden” plan of natural existence.
Choosing self-sowing plants can greatly reduce your plant purchasing bill as they take over your garden naturally.
Take time to plan and exploit this unique gift of nature.
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