Woodland Shade Gardening

Woodland shade gardening with a purpose – pleasure, creativity, rainwater collection!

Small acts of Kindness

Mother Nature has granted me an act of kindness, in the form of very small liriope seedlings.  Liriope, also known as Monkey Grass, has bloomed each year in my gardens.  Last year (2014) the blooms were plentiful and quite impressive.  Birds love to eat the ripened berries after we have enjoyed their beauty for a number of weeks, so liriope also contributes to the biodiversity in the landscape.


The tiny, narrow liriope seedlings, among the vinca foliage

Let me take a moment to tell you about a mistake I made in the fall of 2013, when I planted some liriope given to me by someone.  At the time, I didn’t know there is clumping liriope, and there is running liriope.  Running liriope is highly invasive, forming thick, impenetrable masses of foliage and root.  This became obvious to me, a few weeks later, when I was at the friend’s house and learned she was trying to find someone to dig out her ‘mass of monkeys’.  I tried to help with it, but couldn’t even get a shovel to pierce the roots.  I came home and immediately dug my running liriope right back out of the ground, seeing that it was already producing runners, and plantlets, as much as 2 feet from the original plant.  Occasionally, I still find random plantlets, produced from a tiny piece of root I left in the ground, and am working to spot any of these while they are still easy to eradicate.  Clumping liriope sits politely for years, growing fuller and more lush, but staying in a nice controllable clump.  Running liriope is NOT polite.


The polite parent plant, in solid green. This is a perfect example of a clumping liriope.

Now, back to the tiny seedlings I mentioned.  When I first spotted them here and there in one garden bed, I thought they were runners from the plants I had tried to dig out and dispose of.  Panic engulfed me, as I wondered how the runners traveled all the way around to the opposite side of the house and appeared in this particular bed.  It was beyond believable.

Any good gardener knows ‘a stitch in time saves nine’.  Wait, that is from my sewing and wardrobe lessons.  Nevertheless, I got the dandelion digger and began the process of uprooting, rather than waiting for the nightmare to worsen.  My mission was to gouge the soil, following and lifting each runner, without breaking it – because breaking it might create another plant-growth possibility.  Imagine my surprise, with the first gouge, to discover that these were tiny liriope SEEDLINGS!  Individual seedlings from my well-loved clumping liriope, right there in that very bed!

To be blogged - Liriope seedling    6 8 2015

Each little seedling, with the seed/former berry still so identifiable

Initially, my thought was to uproot all the seedlings and pot them for a few years, giving them time to grow large and mature enough to have a good visual presence when planted.  This is not something that interests me, because I am an ‘in the ground’ kind of gardener.  No container plants or trays of seedlings work into my current design.  Upon closer inspection, I realized all these little seedlings are in perfect locations to stay where Mother Nature placed them, and take their time growing into larger plants.

The moral of this story?  Don’t jump to conclusions.  Even if, like me, you have never seen a liriope put out volunteer seedlings, it DOES happen!  Take a moment to look around and consider the possibilities of small kindnesses from Mother Nature.

9 4 14   Liriope

Variegated liriope in full bloom, with immature berries. Notice the purple stems.

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This entry was posted on June 29, 2015 by in My Woodland Garden and tagged , , .
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Woodland shade gardening with a purpose - pleasure, creativity, rainwater collection!



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