Pass-along plants, those plants shared with others, are examples of a gardener’s generosity. (Perhaps too generous if the gift includes hitchhikers such as goutweed or vinca.) I have a few treasured pass-alongs that remind me each year of friends and their lovely gardens. Spring vetchling (Lathyrus vernus), sometimes called everlasting pea, is one example of a pass-along plant that has been blooming in my garden for several weeks this spring. I don’t often find it for sale, probably because it’s a simple plant available in just three colours — pink, purple or white. But if you see spring vetchling in a friend’s garden, ask nicely and she may share a clump with you; it readily self-seeds and transplants well. The two small clumps given to me a dozen years ago have skipped along the length of the border, popping up here and there. Their wiry stems with slim pointed opposite leaves are easy to recognize even as small seedlings, so they can be moved, composted — or regifted — if desired. Plants are attractive after flowering, too. Foliage remains perky and bright green, and the plentiful seedpods, shaped like (surprise) little pea pods, are a burnished brown. “Earliest perennial pea” provides more plant info.
Heat conditioning for containers
In parts of Ontario, we’ve jumped from March to August temperatures — all within a couple of weeks while still in the month of May. Most of us are familiar with the benefits of applying a layer of mulch on garden beds, but mulching container plants is something to consider, too. Judith Adam explains how in “Sun-proofing containers“.
Gather ye gooseberries
Gooseberry plants are easy to cultivate, according to Stephen Westcott-Gratton, and he has tips on harvesting and pruning at the same time. Many of the newer cultivars are mildew-resistant and bred without thorns. Double bonus.
When it comes to perennials, I try to choose those with multiple benefits — those with pretty flowers as well as attractive foliage, or fragrance combined with pollinator-friendly traits. Here are five, easy-to-grow perennial herbs that support our bee population.
New garden helpers on the horizon?
If we can buy small robots to vacuum a room, why not robots to help weed the vegetable patch? Farmers in the US are trying various robotic prototypes in their fields to collect plant data and accomplish other tasks. Maybe someday smaller models will be developed for home gardeners. Perhaps they could be programmed to pursue rabbits when the weeding is finished.