Well, Christmas has come and gone yet again...and now, free from distractions of the holidays, I turn my attentions to the garden. Amazingly, here in Portland, we are still waiting for frost (although some outlying areas have had frosts already).
While quite a few gardeners would rejoice at a winter without a hard freeze, I always view them with a degree of suspicion. While no one can say that mounds of collapsed, blackened foliage are pleasing to the eye, frosts bring a finality to a chapter of the gardening year. They mark the end of one year...and make way for the next by clearing away the previous years' growth.
It's been so warm (and wet) in fact, that the seed heads of a few plants have actually sprouted...in situ! I first noticed it on the Echinops above. Most of these get stripped by Finches during the winter...but the few that escaped notice have started their own little air born colony!
There are also loads of Echinacea seed heads that have sprouted...perhaps I'll lob these over the fences of a few neighbors in my own version of "seed bombing"!
Of course, the dark side of all this is the proliferation of weed seedlings. I'm going to guess that every Portlander currently has a large, healthy crop of Popweed "popping" up around their gardens. I learned the hard way that these need to be eradicated before they flower...or they'll fling their seed everywhere. Luckily, they are pretty easy to weed out when they are small.
The exceedingly fertile Impatiens balfourii have also started appearing already in the back garden. I swear, every single seed must germinate...and they are tougher than you think. I always think of Impatiens as being delicate, shade and moisture-loving things. I had self-sown seedlings growing in paving sand, between pavers in half-day sun all summer...and while they wilted during the hottest part of the day...they looked fine otherwise.
Naughty, naughty Knautia! Seeing this mini forest of Knautia seedlings, I'm struck at how hard they were to get to germinate when I winter-sowed them a few year ago. I think maybe 1 in 24 seeds germinated...here, in the garden, they self-sow with abandon! I will definitely have to cull these out this spring...and will likely give them away to others as well! This is one of those plants that whose positives far outweigh its negatives...at least in my mind ;-)
While you'd never be fooled into thinking it's summer right now, with all the green about, it certainly doesn't feel like winter!