Pretty volunteers

My neighbors removed some overgrown English Boxwoods and Azaleas from their foundation bed this past spring.  Afterwards they discovered that this area was being overtaken with English Ivy.  They dug up & pulled out as much as possible and sprayed the area with roundup.  Since then the entire area has gone to weed except for these few lovely little volunteers that I found blooming their hearts out amongst the mess.  All of these I’ve grown at some point in my own garden as annuals and they are lovely reseeders.  When nature steps in you can come up with some pretty little surprises.

It may be a weed in some gardens but this lovely little bloom reminds me of a Portulaca, but the foliage isn’t the same.  I know I’ve seen this before or grown it before.  Does anyone know the name of this beauty?

Torenia fournieri or Wishbone Flower is a beautiful annual that prefers a moist partial shade location in the garden.  I’ve grown this in containers or as a low growing border plant. 

Pentas lanceolata is one of my favorite tender perennials.  They aren’t hardy in my zone 7b garden, but they obviously will reseed themselves for the following year.  I’ve never been lucky enough to have them reseed  in my own garden. 

Cosmos are one of my favorite reseeding annuals for the summer-fall garden.  They come in a variety of colors & shapes.  Their lacy fern-like foliage is another beautiful quality as well.   What kinds of plants have reseeded in your garden beds this year?


9 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by greenwalks on October 12, 2008 at 1:48 am

    Sorry your neighbors are not the best in terms of gardening practices, but nice that at least there are some cute re-bloomers showing up amidst the weeds. I love torenia, but don’t grow it anymore since I moved to a sunnier spot. My favorite volunteers are California poppies, pansies and cerinthe.

    That’s okay, not everyone is into gardening like us. The reseeding annuals are quite lovely right now. Torenia is a cute shade lover. California Poppies are another wonderful reseeder. I’ve grown them in the past. 🙂


  2. Those are some pretty wonderful volunteers! Love that wishbone flower.

    Thanks Nancy. I’m glad you enjoyed the pretty volunteers today. 🙂


  3. Very pretty blooms. The first one is Purslane. And you’re right, it does resemble Portulaca grandiflora or rose moss. The botanical name of Purslane is Portulaca oleracea. It’s a native of India and the Middle East and many cultures consider it as food.

    Thanks Kanak! I knew the name started with a “P”. I’ve never grown it, but I have seen it in other gardens. The wild form is a weed in my area. This one has reseeded from a hybrid cultivar. Thanks for the great info.


  4. Your mystery flower is a type of portulaca called purselane. There are naturally occuring varieties in this area, but your neighbor’s is a little too showy to be one of those. More than likely it is a reseeded garden type. Purselane is edible, but since these came from sprayed beds, I doubt if I would try them.

    Thanks Les. I appreciate the info on this pretty little volunteer. No I don’t think I would be eating any of this plant either. I’m not crazy about spraying roundup to kill weeds & grass.


  5. I think of volunteers as bonus plants:) For the first time, my alyssum re-seeded itself this year. Also, the annual salvia “Victoria Blue” usually produces a few volunteers, though I didn’t find many this year. My purple coneflowers were the big surprise–I had lots of little seedlings this spring.

    They are bonus plants! Alyssum is a wonderful reseeding annual and doesn’t tend to be too invasive in the process. Purple Coneflowers are really easy to start from seed. I usually scatter some of the seed into areas where I would like more of this plant. Thanks Rose! 🙂


  6. ugh, I don’t like chemicals in the garden so the round-up by your neighbors makes me cringe. I wish I could get pentas to reseed in my garden too but I’m much colder than you so if you can’t do it, I doubt it will ever happen here! I had nicotiana sylvestris, lady in red salvia, pansies and poppies all reseed this season. I love reseeders. They pop up in some pretty unexpected places.

    Me too, Kathleen. They aren’t gardeners though. I’ve never had any Pentas reseed in my garden, but I mulch too heavily for most reseeders. Sounds like you had some great volunteers this year too. The unexpected can be quite wonderful sometimes. 🙂


  7. Reseeders in my garden include stick verbena (of course), perennial garden phlox ‘Robert Poore’, tithonia, petunias, coneflowers and rudbeckia. I’ve not done that much with annuals in the past because I was getting the garden bones in first (maximum age of any part of my garden is 3 years). This fall and next spring, I’m going to seed sowing of annuals — cosmos, nicotiana, larkspur, poppies, etc. Cameron

    Stick Verbena is one of my favorite reseeders too. I have ‘ Robert Poore’ in my garden too, I like to divide the smaller ones out to put elsewhere. Sounds like you have a great plan for next year’s garden with the reseeding annuals you intend to sow.


  8. Yes, Purslane! I’ve walked around all day after I read this trying to think what it was, and there it was all the time! I have them all over. I buy one six-pack and tear them off and have many. They grow like crazy without being rooted. They can be beautiful little flowers. I have photographed many.

    Thanks Brenda, it was on the tip of my tongue when I did this posting. They are pretty little flowers. The neighbor has several large bunches of them coming up in her front bed.


  9. Purslane is a wonderful annual for us here. We sold it at the nursery in many different colors. We love it for our hot, dry summers. It tolerates these conditions wonderfully.

    Sounds like a great summer annual if it tolerates hot & dry conditions. Thanks Susie. I’ve never grown this particular annual. It reminded me of Portulaca which I have grown in the past. 🙂


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