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  • Upcoming Garden Events

    Sept. 30: The Nashville Herb Society presents Through the Garden Gate: A Glimpse of Edwardian England, 8 a.m. – 3 p.m. at Cheekwood Botanic Hall. Celebrate the gardens, foods and flowers that delighted Downton Abby family and friends at the turn of the 20th century. The event begins with a hearty Edwardian breakfast, followed by three speakers: Marta McDowell on Beatrix Potter’s Gardening Life; Geraldine A. Laufer on Tussie Mussie – Victorian art of expressing yourself in the language of flowers; and Terry White, The English Garden event florist . Registration includes breakfast, box lunch in the garden with music, English tea and cookies. To learn more or to register, visit www.herbsocietynashvlle.org.

    Tips & tasks – September

    Cut the dead tops of coneflowers, but leave enough for goldfinches to enjoy the seeds.

    Plant cool-weather vegetables for a fall crop: spinach, mustard and turnip greens, radishes, leaf lettuce.

    Start a new lawn of cool-season grass, such as fescue, or refurbish or repair establish lawns.

    Don’t let the soil of newly planted grass dry out. New grass needs about an inch of water per week.

    It’s still warm, so continue to water and weed garden beds as needed.

    Remove dead foliage, spent flowers and other garden debris; replenish mulch as needed.

    Continue to harvest produce, which may be getting a boost now from slightly cooler weather. Keep watering sage, rosemary and other perennial herbs so they’ll be in good shape to get through winter.

    Prepare to bring houseplants back indoors: remove dead leaves, scrub soil from the sides of the pots, treat for insects. Bring tropical plants in before nighttime temperatures dip to 55 degrees.

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Dayflower gives gardens the blues

QUESTION: There’s a weed spreading through my perennial bed, under the trees and even growing out of a pile of stepping stones in my yard. It has small, two-petal blue flowers and long, pointed leaves. What is it? And more importantly, how can I get rid of it?

DayflowerIt sound like you are describing Asiatic dayflower, a weedy annual that grows and spreads quickly and will consume anything in its path if you allow it to proceed. It blooms summer into fall, opening its flowers in the morning (it actually has three petals; two blue and one smaller petal that’s smaller and more pale) and closing up tight by late afternoon. It reproduces from seeds dropped each year, but it also spreads vegetatively, rooting at the leaf nodes on moist soil. Common Asiatic dayflower is in the same family as spiderwort.

Dayflower grows in a variety of conditions, but really spreads aggressively in moist, shady spots. As explained in the Illinois Wildflowers database site, “At favorable sites, the Asiatic Dayflower forms colonies that can exclude other species of plants.”

Dayflower patchSo yes, you may want to try to eliminate dayflower from your garden. It won’t be easy. Glyphosates (Roundup and other non-selective herbicides) don’t faze it, apparently. Gardeners who have struggled with it say that it’s easy to pull out of the ground, but even if you think you’ve gotten every single leaf, stem and root, it likely will come back. It’s easiest to pull up when it’s young and small. Diligence is advised.

Here are some comments I read in a forum at Dave’s Garden as I researched Commelina communis:

“It seems to grow several inches over night and can overwhelm an area in little time.”
“Invasive as they get — one of my biggest pests!”

“This plant is a superweed!”

But let’s end with a couple of good things to know about Asiatic dayflower and its blue blooms: Usually, flowers we call “blue” are closer to violet or purple. The flowers of Asiatic dayflower are truly blue, a color that is found in few other plants. And a commenter at the Dave’s Garden forum says this: “It is extremely invasive; but at least it is edible. The young leaves and stems can be added to salads or boiled for 10 minutes and served with butter.”

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