Containers seldom need to be weeded

I had to talk myself down more than once yesterday as I looked around my garden and saw how much needed to be done. Weeds mocked me as they cuddled up next to my real plants. These were the true desperado types--not content with just cropping up in the middle or at the edges of a bed--these weeds menaced my Marshallia, threatened my peonies, and made hostages of the Heuchera.

The "out there" of my weedy garden in mid-March.
Skeletons of annuals, lilies and other unfaltering types whose strength was an advantage in summer still stood in a variety of upright poses, now a blight on the fresh green growth that cowered beneath them.
A month later, and there are still skeletons, now less obvious by virtue of the emergence of foliage and bulbs.
So what's my incentive for cleaning up my garden? (We all work for something, whether it's personal satisfaction, money or health care.) More plants, of course! As lazy as I am, I'd never put a shiny new plant in the middle of a patch of ground ivy.

Lewisia 'Sunset Strain' consists of a variety of colors.

Which brings me to a new self-realization: I grow plants in an ever-increasing number of pots in order to avoid dealing with the weeds in the ground.


Wow! Sometimes over-analyzing brings on some shocking revelations! Now I know why I've been able to ignore the weeds in my garden with only a modicum of guilt. I've got so many pots to care for on my patio, so there are fewer reasons to go "out there" into the depths of the garden.

There are other reasons to grow plants in pots. I buy at least one Lewisia cotyledon each spring, and this year am growing the 'Sunset Strain'.  I plant it in a pot now, no longer willing to see it melt before my eyes when the heat and humidity come to stay. Thanks to my neighbor Lesley, I went on my first plant buying foray early in the season and was able to find a plant that hadn't yet started to bloom.

The orangy buds of Lewisia 'Sunset Strain' open pinky-peach.
According to American Beauties Native Plants, the seed strain of this North American native was developed at Inshriach Alpine Nursery in the Highlands of Scotland. 

A different species of this plant, Lewisia rediviva, was found by Meriwether Lewis on one of his expeditions through the highlands of Montana. Named for Lewis, the Bitterroot plant was given state flower status in 1895 by Montana residents. Lewisia is native to Oregon and California and is nicknamed bitterroot for the mountain range of the same name. 

If you live in northwest Indiana or the Chicago area, check out Sunrise Greenhouse in Grant Park, IL, which is where I am able to find a wide array of plants, including bitterroot, at great prices.

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