I first saw Henbit (Lamium amplexicaule) on a visit to Powell Gardens. I thought it was gorgeous. I still think so. Then I started to see it everywhere, in every field. It is a self-sowing annual, and in farm fields I’m sure it is regarded as quite pernicious—though since it appears year after year, I suspect nobody has any idea how to eradicate it.
And I realize that I don’t really want to eradicate it.
There are areas in my garden which are still in planning stages. I’m slowly improving the soil, adding compost, helping to make beds that my designed plants will succeed in.
And every year I get a bumper crop of Henbit. And I try to kill it. And I fail, just like everybody else.
So I took another look…and I have now decided to incorporate it into the plans. I will seed with mini-clover, and those beds will—until I get them properly planted—look tended rather than weedy. And the clover will improve the soil as well. I will remove all the other weeds, but the henbit? Why?
I still think it is gorgeous. I may even make a stake labelling it! So there!
I have the Perennial Border all planned, each individual plant. (See my post from January 23, 2014, https://timshalagardens.com/2014/01/23/the-perennial-border-plants-at-last-and-their-seasonal-interest/)
But I’m having trouble locating some of the plants I want to use. And some will be too expensive to buy in the quantities I need (at least in a size that will give the effect I want this year.) However I now realize that there is another way to get masses of planned color, in large sweeps without waiting and without huge expense: annuals.
Annuals in a Perennial Border? Yes indeed. I just have to stop thinking of it as a Perennial Border and instead realize that what I want there is a Flowering Border. There. I did it. Just changed the name.
So this week I am sowing seeds! There are some wonderfully tall, hardy flowering annuals which can be sown in December/January through March/April, and bloom this summer. Poppies, for example. And Cleome (I think – I have heard conflicting recommendations. If anyone has information I would be grateful). And Larkspur, Cosmos, Zinnias, Sunflowers.
This also gives me an opportunity to try some plants I’m not familiar with. For example, I’ve ordered seeds for Melinis nerviglumis, Ruby Grass, which should grow to about 2’ tall, with a pink spike flower in July/August, which waves in the breeze. (And we have lots and lots of ‘breeze’)
So this year, one way or another, I’m going to have flowers. Then, in the spring I will start putting in a lot of the perennials that will take over the flowering job eventually.