Thursday, July 18, 2013

Rankled by Rumex

This is my Foliage Followup post which follows Garden Bloggers Bloom Day every month. Pam @ Digging hosts this flying foliage extravaganza.

One of my design goals this season was to improve winter interest in the garden. I read somewhere that designing for winter interest is the most important garden design criteria. Another goal is to create a native plant enriched prairie garden near the street frontage, alias: hellstrip. I keep a keen eye out for winter interest in the surrounding prairies and determined that Rumex crispus-curly dock's rusty seed heads would be a bold addition to the winter garden. I found some growing in my favorite vacant industrial lot and transplanted four groupings.

They survived the winter and begain to grow in the spring. Looks like a weed doesn't it? Plantain even. This was taken April 12.
Broader view. Thats the Rumex on the right side of the Yucca.
On May 23 my wife was telling me some weed in the garden is giving her allergies a fit while she spied this ugly(her term) weed.
 June 12 the plant is getting huge. See it on the right?
 Now things were getting controversial. My neighbors were giving me concerning looks while passing by. The curly dock and the mullien were causing quite a stir.
Add to this grouping a few Vernonia gigantea-Tall Ironweed and we got a prairie weed rodeo going on! At this point, with the Rumex beginning to flop over I decided to do a Tracy DiSabato Aust. That is experiment whacking one in half to experiment to control height. So far so good. At this time a rancher who lives in the hood, replied that one (pointing to the dock) is not a "good one". Whoops. Two days later with Panicum, Achillea, Echinacea, and Veronia. It's beginning to grow on me.
June 19.
June 22nd powdery mildew is taking away the leaves.
June 29 the spendor.
In closure, July 13th.
What's your opinion weed or worthy?





 


34 comments:

  1. What's up doc? Sorry, that's a terrible pun to use on a fellow gardener. Worthy or not? Great question. The foliage is fine, but I would vote no on the brown bloom stalks. BTW, did you see the cool Rumex on a fellow foliage follow-up garden? Scroll down the post to see it.
    It was amazing. Here's the link:
    http://krispgarden.blogspot.com/2013/07/july-foliage-follow-up.html

    David/:0)

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    1. Yes, that Rumex is unusual. I think I've seen it available at Annies Annuals. The jury still out on the Rumex until next spring. I really thing it will add winter interest with the rusty seedheads, I just don't want another aggressive plant to fight. Bindweed, dayflower, bermuda, perilla and milk vetch are enough!

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  2. Funny how what's positive to one person is negative to another - and vice versa. I was marginal about your inclusion of the dock as it grew through the spring until I saw those rusty seed heads punctuating the yarrow and the grasses behind it. I love that deep vivid color and upright form!

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    1. Cindy, I'm sure you have seen quite a few of these in your neck of the woods.

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  3. This might produce seedlings all over the place. Do you really want that?

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  4. I do like the seedheads, but...only time will tell whether to keep it or not.

    Thanks for your visit and comment on my blog post 'A is for Amory.' To answer your question - it is getting hot (in the 90s), but not as hot as last year, mainly because we are getting rain. The temperature will drop at least 10 degrees when it rains. Last year July was hot (over 100F) and very dry. All in all, we are doing very well weatherwise.
    Happy Gardening!
    Lea
    Lea's Menagerie
    Mississippi

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  5. I'm sort of torn...in the first few pictures, I was like "nope"...but those rusty spires at the end are quite fetching.

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    1. I'm sure you have seen them in Nebraska .

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  6. The way you have it interplanted with other interesting foliage makes it work. And I agree that the later stages are really striking--especially in combination with the yellow Yarrow. Very nice!

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  7. The younger plant does indeed look like something you'd take a shovel to. But the mature plant works well with the prairie theme. I'm a "yes," based on the rust-colored plumes.

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  8. Your dock is certainly more robust than my Rumex 'Raspberry Dressing'. I've considered putting 'Raspberry Dressing' in my ornamental garden but I'd be nervous about that curly dock - it looks as though it might not play well with others in the long haul. I'll wait to hear from you on how aggressive its progeny proves to be.

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  9. I like it at the end- the last shot especially. It makes a nice contrast.

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  10. It certainly offers a range of color. I agree with Scott that the rust color, and its contrast with its neighbors, is really pretty. What a great series of images, showing the growth and change. You have an admirable project focus Greggo. (But did you remember, say, to feed the cat?) I would not let seed-fear wreck your prairie plantings.

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    1. Thanks, Linn. Yes I do try to get my dog fed. He he. But one project always leads to 7 more add ons. It's the journey to lala land.

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    2. I know exactly what you mean. It makes me happy but crazy. Which isn't so bad really. :)

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  11. I'm not a huge fan of the "before" with just the foliage, but I LOVE those brown seedheads -- great color contrast with your other plants.

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    1. The truth will be in the pudding.

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  12. I think the flower stalk is cool, personally I like it. However, it would never fly with any of my clients. And a hellstrip is semi-public space, so I think it needs to acknowledge public opinion unless you are really trying to make a statement. Maybe there is somewhere in the backyard for it? There are a bunch of plants that I personally like, but have at least temporarily given up on trying to convince other people to appreciate.

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    1. I agree with you, I would never try to sell any clients on about 20% of my plant material. Actually 95% of the people I talk to love the front garden. I'm anxious to see how the pruned plant does, it's 50% shorter.

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  13. Love the rich deep brown in the final photo, but I liked the texture of it green too ;)

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  14. Greggo, I will tell you that where I garden here on the shores of Lake Michigan in zone 4-5, designing for Winter is really essential. It is one of the prime design rules I use. Nine months out of the year, things look pretty bleak so Winter design is the only way to go for me. Each climate will need to figure out its own winter needs, but I use lots of different evergreens, rocks, sculptures, and small focal points that can be enjoyed even in the dead of Winter when I can not get outdoors. I think you are right to use that as a principle for design in your garden. Jack

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    1. Thanks, Jack. You made some very fine points.

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  15. I like it! I like it's bumpy texture and paprika color. I'd keep it! Your in my Blogger Spotlight. :o)

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  16. I gathered some of this seed last weekend . I like the stuff ! At maturity especially. Thanks for the ID.

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  17. Put me in the "like" column. At work this week I was instructed to pull the rumex from a meadow garden planting we have, while at the same time I am buying seeds to sow this fall for bloody dock. Go figure.

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  18. Sorry. I am not in the LIKE camp on this one. Rumex has a taproot that extends down to Hades and I'm not terribly fond of the dead-looking seed heads despite the fact that I really like rusty metal things. Now if you were to spray paint them, say a bright pink I might do a double take.

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  19. I like the brown phase best of all. My biggest concern would be thousands of seedlings next year. Of course, I have that concern with all the plants in my garden. I don't want any of them to be too happy.

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  20. Amazing! The seedheads are gorgeous! I have been looking for something like that to use with fluffy native grasses. Thanks for the photos!

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Thanks for leaving any comments, they are always welcomed. Sorry I had to add word verification as spam was becoming a huge problem. Greggo,