Self-Sown Plants

I tweeted that I went to a Connecticut Horticultural Society lecture by Rick Darke roughly 10 days ago.  He was, as usual, inspiring.  His topic was bringing “wildness” to the garden–although with all my posts on weeds lately, it seems obvious that there’s a bit too much “wildness” in my garden.

Two of the things that he illustrated (with such beautiful photos that they make my shots look like they were taken by my dog) were letting natives (aka “weeds”) self sow and solve problems in the garden, and leaving self sown plants be.

He had beautiful shots of stone walls in all settings–including the iconic Fallingwater in Pennsylvania which I never realized has such an array of self sown plants growing on the rocks beneath the house.

But of course it also got me re-looking at my own stone walls and crevices.  And I was surprised at what I found.

This is campanula carpatica ‘Blue Clips’ which grows from several spots out of the brownstone wall in front of my house.  I’ve always referred to it as “the plant that thwarted the Spoiler” because he hated it when I had it planted above the wall–he thought it was “too messy.”

So I accommodated him and took it out–except I apparently didn’t get all the roots.  It grew down through the wall and in all previous years it has popped out and bloomed beautifully.  To make matters worse, visitors always admire it when its in full bloom–and The Spoiler just grumbles.

These little alpine strawberries also have proven to be a delight and a surprise.  I planted 5 on top of the wall.  Every year, I have to fight the chipmunks for the fruit–but they reward me by “planting” more all over the yard in crevasses just like this.  Some day, there may be enough for all of us.

And this perennial begonia, begonia grandis alba, pops up in more places every year.  Here it is in a corner of my steps.  It actually lines the entire staircase.  Even the stems and leaves are beautiful when it’s not blooming.

Finally, I’ve made no secret of how fond I am of this white wood aster–eurybia divaricata. It has solved all of my dry shade issues.

Here is that aster again, with our wild impatiens, impatiens capensis.  What a great native planting for butterflies and hummingbirds!

Finally, lest you think it only work in shade, here it is in full sun, on the south side of my property, serving as a groundcover underneath this very woody peegee hydrangea.  This is one versatile plant–and it’s all self-sown!  Just encourage it by leaving the seed heads on!  Don’t be so quick to clean up the garden in the fall!

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2 thoughts on “Self-Sown Plants

  1. I love driving around and seeing the white wood asters flowering along the road on the Merritt Parkway. Until they flowered, I had no idea there were so many of them growing at the woodland edge.

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