Reseeding flowers, vegetables and herbs surprise you every year in the garden. Here are some ways to keep things varied and interesting in your garden.
Decades ago when I was first getting turned on to the plant world, I had a friend who was a painter. One of her favorite subjects was her flower garden.
“I like to paint my garden, because it’s different every year.”
Right then, I started to learn about reseeding flowers. It seemed so organic to me to let plants do what they wanted to do without disturbing them.
My flower gardens are like that now – different every year.
The accidental garden
Seeds are spread through wind, rain, animals and birds. We don’t always know what will pop up in our gardens.
I have a Creeping Pink Gypsophila that came from somewhere, but certainly not another part of my yard! I left it where I found it, and it has turned into a lovely border plant in front of a stand of yarrow. It is also drought tolerant, which is great for our desert environment.
In the back yard, I found a volunteer Meadow Rue next to the Columbine. When they are small, the leaves look similar. I left it thinking it might be a Columbine (a plant that reseeds readily). As it grew, the flowers were definitely not Columbine, but again, I left it, since it was so happy there. Today it’s 4’ tall and half as wide!
The seeds of these plants could have come in on the wind or through a bird. They may have even dropped off the dogs’ fur. Who knows where they travel to and what they bring home?!
Even though I hadn’t planned on these two plants, they are doing very well and became wonderful additions to my gardens.
The intentional garden
You may want your existing plants to reseed in other places. In that case, save the seed heads, and put them where you would like them to grow. Make sure they have the same growing conditions (sun, shade, wet, dry, etc) so they will sprout easily.
I have done this with Hollyhocks, laying the entire seed stalk in a new bed. I have also sprinkled seeds of California poppies, Icelandic Poppies, Columbine, and Gaillardia in various places with success. You have to be familiar with the seedlings so as not to weed them out when they sprout.
If you see plants that have reseeded in areas where you don’t want them, dig them up when they are young, and transplant them to a more suitable spot.
Buying reseeding plants
Many years ago, I had heard that Scarlet Gilia, a native plant, reseeds readily. I bought one in flower to see what would happen. The second year, there were babies all over the garden. Since it’s a biennial, they did not flower, only put on vegetative growth. The third year, though, those babies all flowered beautifully! They dropped their seed, and the cycle continued. Even though they are very hardy, they tend to prefer a bit of shade behind a large yucca.
Not only ornamental flowers reseed. Herbs and vegetables will pop up in your garden if you do not clean up in the fall. In addition to what I’ve already mentioned, here’s a short list of plants you can buy to have a garden that’s “different every year”.
Wildflower mixes are usually a blend of reseeding annuals and biennials. You can probably find one that it suitable for your region.
Grow organically, which means pesticide free. Experiment with the other meaning of organic gardening, letting plants be where they want to be. This is Mother Nature at work.