Volunteers of America

One of the wonderful things about having an explosively healthy garden is that we always have plenty of free plants if we want to make a new bed. We've just about run out of room, but we did get around to planting this last corner about a month ago with the offshoots of our established plants.

For anyone who's even more amateur than I, you have a volunteer on your hands when you see a smaller, separate plant of the same type, next to the one you planted. Dig it up and find it a new home, and it will grow just as large as your original! It will probably be even hardier, too.

The largest plant in the photo is maiden grass, which might look half dead, but it's impossible to kill. In fact, we pried this one out of the ground after several neighbors complained that they couldn't see around it when they were trying to turn the corner around our lot. It's easily 8 feet tall by the end of the summer, crowned with gorgeous red plumes.

The others, which are also looking pretty sad right about now, are dwarf fountain grass, yarrow, Russian sage, sedum and echinacea. I especially recommend this last one; it has gorgeous flowers, which are in full bloom right now. A friend of ours makes a tincture from the dried plants, which he swears keeps him healthy through the winter. But if you let them dry in your garden, you'll get some wonderful visitors in the late summer - goldfinches love them. In fact, those visitors are probably the reason we have so many plants: they're very efficient at spreading seeds!


DaleA said...

Wow, I have a corner of the yard that looks much the same with the sage and echinacea. Evidently they will grow anywhere!