Friday, July 25

Reseeders and Other July Surprises

There are some reseeders that I count on seeing in my garden each year. For example, I love the smokey purple color of ruby mountain spinach, atriplex hortensis var. rubra, as well as the deep purple-green leaves and red flowers of 'Hopi Red Dye' amaranth, seen here:

Some plants are known to be reseeders, but are hit-or-miss when it comes to making repeat appearances in my garden. For example, last year I found NO extra lyreleaf sage plants in the spring, but this year I have found a half-dozen seedlings of the salvia lyrata:

Last year, I had 4 or 5 volunteer sea kale, crambe maritima. This year, I only found one telltale set of light blue leaves coming up in an unexpected place. And as you can see, this baby sea kale did not choose a good site. It sprouted under the leaves of a Spanish foxglove, so I pulled it out after taking this picture:

Another plant whose volunteers don't always pick the best spots is Russian sage. I probably have, oh, a dozen Russian sage babies popping up around the garden... but since the plants get upwards of 3ft tall and are pretty bushy, too, they never have room to grow where they plant themselves. For example, this little seedling had to be removed from its bed of ajuga, before it started to crowd the nearby peach tree:

In previous years, I've had a few snapdragons flat out overwinter in my garden, and I've also had some good reseeding. The only problem with snaps reseeding is that you can end up with a few different colors. For example, last year I planted snapdragons that stayed very short and were almost completely bright red. This seedling looks a lot like last year's snapdragons but with a yellow throat and almost painterly touches of gold:

But how to explain this pure white beauty? She looks nothing like last year's snapdragons!

Now we get to confession time: I confess that I am horrendously behind in regards to weeding and mulching my garden. There is way more bare earth than I'd like to see--and what isn't bare earth is unfortunately pretty weedy. With working two jobs and having to paint the fence I have fallen behind on a few things... but am working my way toward catching up. On the flip side, I'm betting that if I had mulched on time, I would probably not have been gifted with this pretty coleus seedling:

That's it (for now) for the reseeders... but I do have a couple of other surprises in my garden today. Last summer, I was gifted with some short (less than 3ft tall) oriental lily hybrids from a display garden that was being disassembled. They have all the fragrance of the Stargazers they resemble--it wafts up to my 2nd floor bedroom window at night--but stay short and need no staking.

One of the three clumps had a small, thin, weak-looking stalk come up at the edge. I thought it was probably just another, younger "bulblet," (Elizabeth and all you other lily experts out there--is that the right term?) but today it bloomed in a very different color:

It's pretty, with wavy petals that are recurved, but it is not particularly fragrant. If it had a great scent, I'd be asking how to move and "save" it, but as it is I think that I will just leave it be... if it comes back again next year, that will be fun. But if not, it won't be any great loss.

To end on a good note, the last surprise is a very welcome one. Last year, I grew three different gladiolus (gladioli?)... a beautiful deep red one, the horrendously ostentatious orange-and-yellow one, and a green one that was promptly pulled out before any pictures could record its sickly color. I forgot to dig up the bulbs of 'Espresso,' the red glad, so I was very excited to see a few of them come back and bloom again this year, albeit horizontally because I forgot to stake them:

Maybe this will be the year that I finally remember to dig up and overwinter the glads? Probably not... but IMHO gardeners are optimists, and one can always hope, right?! :)


Anonymous said...

I love your reseeders, Kim - It's great that you get snaps to come back. Ours are runty and awful this year. (I should have put a confessional pic of them in my last post too.) I can't believe you work 2 jobs AND take good care of that garden. I work one job and fall asleep when I get home! Mulching? Weeding? Forget it!

Unknown said...

Kris, the 2nd job at the garden center is seasonal and now finished... but save for an event at the beginning of July, it's a "quiet time" of the year at my full time job. So keeping up isn't a big problem except for that busy second job. :)

Lisa at Greenbow said...

The compost is giving me some surprises from last years seeds Kim. I think they are fun to find. I have several other things reseeding too.

Anonymous said...

It looks like you've had some great luck re-seeding. I'm growing some liriope right now and I'm afraid it's going to take over my garden. That stuff spreads so fast!

Niels Plougmann said...

I do not mind reseeders but try to control it by cutting away the spent the flowers when they set seeds so only a few seeds fall to the ground. Some plants seed will come back every year for 8 years after I have removed them from my garden. Even here some snapdragons made it through the winter - they are not supposed to be hardy enough for that here - but then again we had the 8 mildest winters during the last 10 years - global warming?

Kylee Baumle said...

I've got Cleome seedlings doing pretty well, which is ironic, since I tried to grow them from seed two years ago and wasn't hugely successful. I tried to save some seed for planting last year, but never got around to planting them. They look better now than they ever did then!

I've got petunias that came up in the veggie garden. They're gorgeous and not the colors I remember.

Cypress vine seedlings came up in two different locations - both last year's and the previous year's location. I didn't have to plant any this year.

And then there are those ridiculously proficient at self-seeding Northern Sea Oats. I have been pulling those things all summer all over the garden.

Anonymous said...

I always feel behind in the garden. Too much to do and too little time and now two jobs also. Somethings gotta give and it won't be the fifteen minute nap! I always intend on lifting glads, cannas and dahlias but the reality is less concrete than the thought if that is possible. I LOL at the memory of that picture of your wild glad! It was garish.

lisa said...

I just LOVE those kinds of surprise gifts! In fact, the only thing in my garden that I call "weed" this year is white clover-the damn thick mat it creates is even killing off some of my creeping thyme! And that's hard to do!

Gail said...


Nice post...and it makes me think about what reseeds and what I might want to plant that will reseed! Rudbeckias are always reseeding.

I have a more places that are experiencing benign garden neglect then I care to admit! It's almost too hot and since the chiggers and mosquitoes arrived it's pretty yukky out there!


Kati said...

Yes, let's hear it for re-seeders! I've also had shrubs and trees offer seedlings, like cedars and spirea, which were a nice surprise. And although mullein is considered a weed, I have often enjoyed it's exclamation mark in the garden and let it grow on.

And for Lisa's comment re clover, my neighbor Lisa's "lawn" is actually clover and is gorgeous.

Mr. McGregor's Daughter said...

What a bonus having those Glads overwinter. I'd still dig them up this year to be safe. Your hybrid red & yellow Snapdragon is lovely. Have you tried to self pollinate it & collect the seed? I have 2 plants that I rely on to self sow & they've never let me down: Malva & Sweet Alyssum.

Anonymous said...

what a delightful jaunt visiting your volunteers. I always love when volunteers find their way in among my planned garden.

MrBrownThumb said...

Reseeders are dangerous. Two years later I'm still battling an Amaranth that a neighbor introduced to the area. I've even spotted it growing in cracks in the sidewalk a mile away. I'm guessing the birds must have carried the seeds because I'd never seen the Amaranth before around here.

flydragon said...

Your pictures are terrific. I love the little surprises that pop up in my garden, too. Asarina re-seeds itself too, and I'm always happy to see it in my gardens. Since it is a climber I just dig them up and place them by the trellis. I have impatiens that sprout up in colors that I haven't planted in 3 or 4 years. Always wonder where they've been hiding.

Kerri said...

I love volunteers! Six different annuals reseeded in my lily garden this spring..Painted Tongue (Salpiglossis), Wave Petunias, Portulacas, Nicotiana, Snapdragons, and regular Petunias.
Too bad we don't live closer. I'd love one of your Russian Sage babies if you wanted to get rid of it. Which reminds me...I'll be sending the Lupine seeds very soon.
Your lilies are gorgeous! Strange to have the one different color. Little surprises are nice :)

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