Sweet Cicely and The Maple Part I

Posted by on Sep 2, 2019 in Featured Plants, Garden Thoughts | 0 comments

Sweet Cicely Garden Journal 2 September 2019

Introduction and Hope for Rain

Dear friend and gardener. It is a warm afternoon but with a slightly cool breeze drifting through now and again; sitting outside is tolerable. During the warmer months, I try to make it a point to enjoy my lunch outside as often as possible. I just glanced westward, and heavy gray clouds are heading this way. Maybe we will be blessed with rain despite the forecast indicating otherwise. Once can hope! I have spoken about this before but living in an arid climate, every drop of rain is so precious.

In my last post I mentioned that I have had some great successes this year. So begins the story of Sweet Cicely and The Maple Tree.

Botanical Drawing of Myrrhis Odorata, Sweet Cicely

Botanical Drawing of Myrrhis Odorata, Sweet Cicely

Sweet Cicely

In the Beginning

This story began in May of 2013. I created a post describing my delight in planting some sweet cicely seeds. That was also the day I discovered I have high blood pressure. I would subsequently learn I have diabetes as well. That aside, it turns out May is not the time of year to plant sweet cicely. Cicely seeds need cold treatment to germinate so the ideal time to sow is in the autumn. Not knowning this, I thought something was wrong with my seeds. Months passed without germination.

I belong to an online community called The National Gardening Association. I cannot recall all the details but somehow, I reached out to other members of the site asking for advice on growing cicely. A very kind soul from Belgium reached out and explained I should sow my seeds in autumn. Thinking nothing would come of the seeds I originally planted, she was kind enough to send seeds from her garden. What a blessing! I planted this new set of seeds in December 2013 or January 2014. Because I planted at more or less the appropriate time, I hoped they would germinate after winter released its grip.


Winter blew in then melted away. Then, it happened! I believe it was April when I noticed small fern like foliage emerging. Success! Sadly, the plants did not put on much growth and they did not flower at all. All throughout the season, the plants declined and eventually faded away to nothing as the gardening season ended.

Try and Try Again

Over the next couple years, I contemplated, and attempted to correct whatever I was doing wrong. Is it too warm to grow this herb in Colorado? Possibly, but cicely should still perform well during the early part of the season. Maybe the bed I chose to grow this plant was too crowded? I had raspberry plants in this bed and if you have ever grown raspberries, you know they spread very rapidly. My raspberries never produced fruit, so I dug them all out. I thought maybe this would help. It didn’t.

I even tried digging up the clump and moving it to a berm in full sun and that failed miserably. The plant languished in its new location and eventually perished. I was certain my desire to grow this fine herb had finally been thwarted.

Fast Forward to 2017

April came around once again and thankfully the delicate fern like foliage emerged again ever so faithfully. I am sure I breathed a sigh of relief when I realized I didn’t kill it by trying to move it. Whatever root system that remained was enough to produce foliage once again. As it turns out, the root system of sweet cicely runs deep so that is most likely why I didn’t kill the entire plant when I tried to move it.

As the months passed, there were a few leaves but nothing remarkable. I kept the area clear, but the plant once again languished.

A New Plan of Action is Formed

2017 faded away as did the leaves of the plant. 2018 arrived, a few leaves emerged but then nothing. By this point, I was determined to successfully grow this herb! So, at the end of last season, I formulated a plan and put it into action.

…To be continued!

Thank you so kindly for reading. This story may be comprised of three parts so please stay tuned. The rest of the story shall be told.

Until next time! Happy gardening and thank you for being a part of my community!

As always, here are some recent photos of my garden.

Fly on Leaf

Every morning, there is always a congregation of these little flies on my sunflower and black eyed Susan leaves.

Faded Cosmos Bloom

Faded Cosmos Bloom

Utrecht Blue Wheat

The wheat (Utrecht Blue Wheat purchased from Botanical Interests) has dried leaving behind the beautiful blue grains. I grew this with the sole intent of photographing it!

Pink cosmos with stinkbug

Pink cosmos with stinkbug

Drooping sunflower laden with seeds

As the sunflower blooms fade, the seed heads form. This seed head is dropping almost to the ground. It’s only a matter of time before some critter chews it off and takes it away!

Green bug on pincushion flower

Green bug on pincushion flower

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