Gardening: Some self-seeded plants are always welcomeBy Linda Fort
July 06, 2012
A number of little rituals are performed each year in my garden.
They involve scattering the seeds of certain plants in the hope they will come again another year.
I try to broadcast the seeds in places where I would like to see them growing.
They generally come back exactly where they like – in the vegetable patch and in the gravel path usually.
Opium poppies arrived in my garden by accident – brought in no doubt by the birds.
I love them dearly, from their papery pink party dress flowers to their rattling-maraca seed heads.
Weeded out across the vegetable patch, I allowed a sizeable clump to thrive in the corner, which is exactly where they grew last year.
In the front garden a patch of pot marigolds (Calendula officinalis) come again every year. I deadhead some but allow a few seedheads to ripen and then resow them at once. This successfully creates a cheerful patch of orange as reliably as if they were perennials.
This morning I found a packet of seeds in a small brown envelope marked shoo-fly, which is Nicandra physalodes.
I bought this blue and white annual at a plant sale many years ago and have sowed its seed ever since. I have found none in the garden this year so I clearly forgot last year. Sowing now may be too late for this year but I hope it will produce results next summer.
They usually appear in the pot my fig tree grows in along with the occasional Verbena bonariensis which is also a welcome guest from a past planting.
I don’t sow Alchemilla mollis – the lime green ladies’ mantle – but it arrives unbidden and always welcome.
And a deep red vetch which I bought in a rare plant sale refuses to grow in the borders but happily seeds itself in the gravel every year where it is permitted to stay.
Red valerian is now blocking the path alongside the house.
I weeded out all the plants which appeared in the centre of the gravel path, hoping to keep them tidily to the sides, but they have flopped gracefully and rather beautifully across the path. I continue to tolerate them while they look beautiful but it means I have to lift the lawn mower to shoulder-height to get it to the back garden.
I am beginning to think that plants rule my life.
One prolific self-seeder now completely fills the border where about three years ago I weeded out every single plant.
The ghastly pink horror is Geranium endressii in full flower now. If I pull it all out now it will just leave the rest of the border looking wrecked because plants growing up together prop each other up.
A job in the autumn – more in hope than expectation – will be to make another blitz and try to get rid of it again.
Some visitors you are glad to see and others have outstayed their welcome as soon as they walk in the door.