I love the term garden volunteers...I always picture a little army marching through the annual bed, gleefully volunteering themselves as seeds for next years' plants. Garden volunteers are self seeding plants, usually annuals. They pop up everywhere. For beginning gardeners or lazy gardeners, or simply people who need to cover a large area with flowers, they are an answer to our prayers.
Last year I bought two 10 cent seed packets at Family Dollar, a discount store in Farmville, Virginia. It contained 30 Bachelor's Button seeds, one package of all blue and the other a mixed package of blue, pink and purple. I directly sowed the seeds into the soil in the perennial bed next to the driveway in early May and promptly forgot about them. The conditions are tough in that area of the garden: hard clay soil with lots of rocks, a fairly steep slope, and hot sun most of the day.
The results? Beautiful clusters of flowers last year...and this year...garden volunteers!
Along with the coreopsis, the Bachelor's Buttons did a great job self sowing throughout the garden, so much so that I've had to move many of the seedlings.
Not bad for spending only twenty cents!
Here's a list of what self-seeded in my garden this year:
- Bachelor's Buttons (Centaurea cyanus)
- Alyssum (Lobelia maritima) - this self seeded during the growing season, so much so that I was picking plants out of the walkway. It's too early yet to know if it will come back this spring.
- Cosmos: I had a free package of cosmos seeds from a company trying to get my business. I threw them in the ground without a thought. Soon I had a massive stand of 3-foot tall pink and purple flowering cosmos on frilly greens. Unfortunately, a strong wind during a thunderstorm smashed them right over and uprooted them, and I could not get them to grow again. They did leave behind seeds, which are now sprouting right where they fell. Amazing! This year I have the same seed packet (that company just won't stop trying to get my business) and another of orange, red and yellow. I will place supports for these tall gems.