Friday, February 8, 2013

How Mother Nature Plants a Flower Bed

I noticed lots of lush green along the side of the driveway where it loops around to the equipment barn.

Lush, green, lots of weeds.
I could not identify this big plant. It looks
as if it might be good to eat.
I saw Cudweed, Ladies' Bedstraw, Chickweed, Dandelions. Ryegrass reseeded from last winter.

There is a Dog Fennel, Bittercress, wild Violets, Dichondra;
fewer Henbit and Florida Betony than I'm seeing elsewhere.

There is even a rose campion seedling.

Then I saw this. Clumps of this as if they'd been sown among the chickweed and grass.
I felt the leaves. They are fuzzy, almost sticky. Familiar!
Then I saw these!
Laura Bush Petunias.
There are dozens of plants, covering a space more than 30 feet long.
As best I can tell, those are seeds from the Petunias that used to grow and 
reseed in front of the boxwoods here. When I swept the driveway back
in the fall, seeds collected on the other side of the driveway and then
the lightweight seeds were scattered like dust on northwest winds.
I pointed out this planting to He-who-mows and I marked it with rebar posts so he doesn't forget.
I'm thinking of what to add: Sweet William? There are two trays of perhaps white Dianthus barbadus waiting to be planted. Seeds of Purple Alternanthera? Sweet Alyssum?  This is probably not going to be a permanent bed but I'll see how well I can weed out the undesirables, leaving cudweed for American Painted Lady butterfly larvae. 
It would have been too much trouble to have started a flower bed here. It's a rain garden, planted by Mother Nature and watered by rain pouring off the tractor shed.


gld said...

I love these kinds of beds! I need to get some Laura bush. I hope it will self seed for me here. So far, I am not seeing any returning petunias so I ordered new seeds. They seem to self-seed for a few years and then disappear.

I would have to tie white flags to the rebar for my DH! He doesn't mow, but he does get alarmingly close to my flower beds with the ATV. said...

I too have petunias popping up in strange places. Also the Sweet Alyssum. Plants that self seed seem like a gift in a way. They battle so many environmental hurdles just to take root and I always marvel where they grow. I have had petunias bloom between the cracks in my paving.

Christys Cottage Wildlife Garden said...

Hi NellJean....This is my first visit to your blog. I really like your gardens. That mystery plant looks a lot like Polk Salad. A plant I'd never heard of until I moved to Tennessee eight years ago. I just love self-seeding plants and usually let them grow where ever they come up. I look forward to visiting again!!

NellJean said...

I thought it looked like Poke Salet, too. When I smelled it, I had doubts. Gonna watch it for a while.

Tammy65 said...

I think the mystery plant looks like Sweet Basil leaves look too thin for Poke Salad.

jeansgarden said...

I love your volunteer petunias. It always gives me joy to find plants that I love blooming where I don't expect them to be (like the Siberian irises that come up between the steps leading up to my back door :-)). -Jean

Casa Mariposa said...

I love surprises like this! Those petunias are beauties. :o) Sweet alyssum would smell great and look good against that dark purple.

Margaret Thele said...

The larger leaf plant does look a bit like basil from the picture but it to me looks like an amaranth or pigweed? Maybe?

NellJean said...

It doesn't smell like basil and it isn't slick like basil. Probably a pigweed. I'll know before I let it set seeds, lol.

Alyssum would be great, if I find the seeds I tucked away.

Now I have volunteers in what was to be an all-white bed by the greenhouse. Tomatoes! From the compost, I guess. We may have Tommy-toes instead of pretties.

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