Stickability

Like discarded chewing gum on a pavement, some plants are hard to get rid of. Whatever you do, however careful you are when cleaning up the dead blooms… they still seem to pop up the following year. Or month, or week, or - in the case of marigolds - the next day. And I’m learning a lot about them.

calendula-in-cracksmarigold-by-wallFirst of all, marigolds and in particular English marigolds are lovely. Really lovely. With little fuss and nonsense, they grow, flower and attract bees, hoverflies, ladybirds and all the other great insects into the garden. Blooms last all season and when it comes to rating them on a scale of stickability, they are tops. Allow the blooms to set seed and (with so many to deadhead you are bound to miss one or two) they will be deployed to the surrounding area and will grow. This I guarantee. In cracks and crevices in your paving, between bricks in any crumbly walls and, of course, in the soil. A marigold is for life and not just summer. A few quid invested in a pack of seeds will pay you back forever by the bucket load.

sunflower-above-doorSunflowers are also sticky. I’ve had some pop out of a bag of compost I was using, but I’ve also deliberately grown some. Now they are over, I reckon that the birds, or the squirrel I spotted prancing and dancing around the veg plot the other day, have demolished the seed heads and no doubt will have dispersed a few for me to find next spring. There’s actually a seedling growing now, in autumn, on top of a canopy above my front door. It has rooted into the resident mossy cushions and is doing its best to survive. Not sure it will be a show winner, especially when the colder weather begins, but hats off to its spirit of adventure. Or to the bird that dropped it there.

I go on about clearing all potatoes from the soil when harvesting. I try. Really, I do but, again, leave one and you just know it will grow. In fact, one of the best ever crops of spuds I grew came from a random potato peeling I threw on the compost heap. Perhaps the blight and bugs didn't spot it growing there. Or they just didn’t expect to see it growing there. Spuds are sticky.

Same goes for dahlias. The tubers sometimes produce thick fingers that, if left in the soil, will usually regrow. It does put a question mark over all the gardening wisdom surrounding best practice. ‘Lift dahlia tubers, dry off, clean up, store in dry, frost free place before bringing back into life in mid-spring’ can surely be replaced ‘oh just leave ‘em where they grow and forget about them.’ However, I still don’t take any chances with my dahlia-tastic beauties, especially this year.

But then some plants just don’t hang around.

It may be different for you but every time I’ve grown chocolate cosmos, and it is now a fair few attempts, plants look great for a few weeks and then, well, they just up sticks and disappear. Lowest of the low on the stickability scale.

But at least I am guaranteed a blooming great garden next year without actually doing anything. Sunflowers, calendula and dahlias to look at and a nice blob of mash or a crispy roasty. That’s not too bad.