Saturday, July 24, 2010

Garden Runaways

I cannot post any new photos or tell any stories of my garden this week because I am out exploring the American West. We've been camping on federal lands, enjoying tall trees, clear aquamarine rivers and now the Pacific coast. July in the western mountains is wildflower season, and I have been surprised to find some garden flowers out staking a claim along the highways and riversides.

On the drier east side of the Cascades, I found yarrow growing tall and exuberant, just the white flowering kind. On the east side, pink sweet peas clamber up road cuts, along gravel banks and in open blackberry meadows. Less pervasive but also present are blue and purple bachelor's button, something I never would have expected to see outside a garden bed.

I don't know if it was just happenstance that these garden seeds escaped the garden, or if the sweet peas were deliberately introduced, but the effect is truly interesting. I know that when people come visit the Northeast in the summer, they often ooh and aah over the beautiful spiky purple flowers in the marshes, not knowing that purple loosestrife is a serious invasive plant. I hope I'm not falling prey to complimenting a nuisance species also, but I must admit the bright colors of these garden escapees are indeed beautiful.

1 comment:

  1. Rachel,

    Glad you are enjoying your trip. I remember a hillside in Ashland Oregon that would get covered in purple vetch- I'm assuming it was planted as a cover crop and to enhance the soil with it's nitrogen fixing ability. Perhaps the sweet pea has spread for the same reason- or it is just a beautiful wildflower!