All my favorite weeds are back!

Like the Nigella, Love in a Mist:

Good To Grow, Liza's photos, Weeds in the Garden

Good To Grow, Liza's photos, Weeds in the Garden

And the Mexican Evening Primrose (well, they’ve been back for a few weeks):

Good To Grow, Liza's photos, Weeds in the Garden

And my beloved Gaillardia is finally back:

Good To Grow, Liza's photos, Weeds in the Garden

I call them weeds because, aside from the Gaillardia, they are uninvited guests.

We didn’t plant them, and since the house is a rental, who knows who did. I do know that all sorts of plants pop up right through the landscaping fabric and gravel. The Nigella, the Bachelor’s Buttons, the Larkspur – they laugh at that so-called weed barrier.

My rules for weeds are simple (and common): If the plants are not sharp (like Nightshade), don’t produce sharp seeds (like Goatheads or Foxtail), aren’t poisonous (like Poison Ivy), don’t irritate my landlady (Dandelions), and they’re pretty, they get to stay.

Last fall, I noticed a new plant that sprang up in the front yard. It grew outward, like a vine. I remember noticing it and thinking it was pretty. So I let it stay.

It died back during the winter. And this spring, it has come back to life with a vengeance.

In only its second season, it’s almost as big as the Spanish Broom, which has been there at least five years (that’s it on the left):

Good To Grow, Liza's photos, Weeds in the Garden

What the what? What the heck is that plant? Where did it come from?

It was pretty, and I liked its yellow flowers:

Good To Grow, Liza's photos, Weeds in the Garden

Good To Grow, Liza's photos, Weeds in the Garden

They may have had a fragrance, but I couldn’t tell as it was right next to the uber-fragrant Broom.

I didn’t recognize the plant, so I called upon my good friend David, over at the Desert’sEdgeBlogspot, for help. He in turn asked his friend, a fellow named Dave Ferguson, curator at the Rio Grande Botanical Garden. Dave kindly wrote back:

>>>>”Yellow Sweet Clover – Melilotus officinalis

Common plant in Albuquerque (and pretty much all over the world).  A little like Baptisia, but plant is more branching with smaller leaves and flowers much smaller in terminal spikes at the ends of all the branches.  Introduced into the US from Eurasia, usually behaves as a biennial, but can be an annual, or if happy a perennial.  I think birds move the sees around.  Easy to purchase seed of.  Root is a bit parsnip-like.  Whole plant smells good (some people think it stinks).  Bees and lots of other insects love it, some butterflies eat it as caterpillars (notably Sulphurs and Blues).  It will re-seed by the thousands if allowed to ripen fruit in a favorable location. and I pull them in the botanic garden; however, years ago we actually seeded some in a “wildflower” area (took several years to get rid of it, and it still comes up occasionally in that area).  Can be cut for hay, used for honey production, etc.  Will bloat livestock if they get into it and eat too much too fast.

Melilotus alba is almost as common, and has white flowers.  The yellow one tends to start flowering a week or two before the white one.

Sweet Clover won’t survive in my yard because it is rabbit / deer candy.

And so on.

Dave>>>>

I tell ya, both of these gentlemen are liking walking, breathing encyclopedias. Thanks Daves! Much appreciated.

So it’s Yellow Sweet Clover. I don’t remember ever seeing it around town before, but I’ll keep my eyes peeled for it now.

It meets my requirements for being allowed to stay – it doesn’t have thorns, it’s pretty. But I read that the main plant will die at the end of its second year. It’ll flower from May to September, and will throw out as many seeds as possible during that time so its legacy lives on. As Dave said above, thousands of seeds.

Um, no thank you!

So the poor guy had to go. But I’m certain we haven’t seen the last of him.

Good To Grow, Liza's photos, The Great Chayote Growing Experiment

Good riddance!

——————————-

Liza’s Great Chayote¹ Growing Experiment Update:

THEY’RE GROWING LIKE CRAZY!!!

Good To Grow, Liza's photos, The Great Chayote Growing Experiment

Good To Grow, Liza's photos, The Great Chayote Growing Experiment

Good To Grow, Liza's photos, The Great Chayote Growing Experiment

Good To Grow, Liza's photos, The Great Chayote Growing Experiment

So awesome!

I’ll be back tomorrow, hope to see you here!

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¹ Chayote is a fruit in the gourd family, like squash. It’s native to Mexico. It’s more nutritious than regular squash, and it’s sturdier, which is great for cooking in stews like calabacitas.

I’ve been experimenting with growing them, this is pretty much the furthest I’ve gotten, which is why I’m so excited. My hope is to spark a Chayote growing and eating craze, because that would be fun.

Chayote = The New Arugula.

You heard it here first, haha!

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