Healthy Weld Plant, 2010.
Part VII: Weld Rescue
The Weld, Reseda luteola, has been struggling since mid-June. On the 4th of July I executed a Weld Rescue Program and I am keeping my hopes up that the plants will recover in their new home and live successful lives in my wild garden in the country. Maybe I’m dreaming but it was either that or sure death.
Weld in 4" pot, mid-May, 2010.
Weld mulched, lower garden bed, 2010.
Weld likes sandy and rocky soil. At our home the soil is a clay loam. Although I know better than to go against a plants preferences, I still could not resist trying Weld in this hot Oklahoma clay soil which is rich in nutrients. I chose two different garden beds, one with a little more shade than the other. In 4” pots they looked bright and healthy. After transplanting into the ground they looked healthy and strong. But, by mid-June I began to notice the Weld plants in the lower bed turning yellow, wilting, and dyeing one by one.
Weld from happy to stressed, 2010.
Oklahoma summers are usually very hot, humid, with little rain. This summer the temperatures have barely peaked into the 90’s but the humidity is sweltering and we feel like we live in a fish bowl. It has also rained a considerable amount. Everything is damp. First I attributed the sad looking Weld to too much water and hoped that it would recover after it had a chance to dry out a bit. The problem is that clay soil does not drain quickly like sandy rocky soil drains. And then it just kept raining.
After loosing the entire lower bed, about 18 plants, I decided it was time for an intervention. I was noticing the same symptoms just beginning so I dug up the remaining plants in the upper bed, about 8 total and transplanted them to my “wild country garden”. For me this is my old garden ground, made up of good sandy soil that has been amended with compost and straw over the years and it is full of earthworms.
Weld from top to bottom,
Although Weld does not like to be moved after its taproot has developed, I gently lifted them out of the clay soil, took pictures of the roots, and drove to my “wild country garden”, cleared a garden spot on a semi shaded slope and placed them gently into the sandy rich loam soil. It rained for the next three days, giving them a chance to recover from the move and from their struggle to survive.
Weld in new garden bed,
day of transplant, 2010.
Weld, one week after transplant, 2010.
Weld, lifting up from its center, 2010.
One week later there are two plants that have especially perked up in the middle, lifting themselves up while the larger leaves have died back. I hope that the better drainage from the sandy soil will be better for them and that it will not be so difficult for the tap root to push itself downward, creating a stronger root.
Wish them luck!