Finding a Niche

There are several plants in and around my garden that pop up in different places each year. Our top compost heap is home to nettles and Jack-in-the-Hedge (Alliaria) this year. While the beech hedge on the north side of the house has offered cover for Greater Celandine. The ants, birds and puffs of wind help them find a new niche to thrive. Sometimes in the most inconvenient of places, but we are flexible here!

The Cymbalaria muralis, for example, has moved up a few steps this spring…

Along with the Aubretia…

Corydalis lutea started out as a single plant in my front bed and now appears in both familiar and new spots, making use of nooks and crannies…

Another pleasing sight is the little violas that have seeded themselves from a single (purple) plant all the way down our garden path…

They are accompanied by violets and a few other weeds…

… as well as wild strawberries…

Then there are those unwanted ones too, of course… but beggars can’t be choosers…

And finally, the Nigella have returned. I wonder what colours will appear this year… πŸ™‚

Do you have any colonizers in your garden?



44 thoughts on “Finding a Niche

  1. All very pretty and no work – must be a good thing. Stipa tenuissima and to a lesser degree Stipa gigantea seed profusely. The Californian poppies and Anemone coronaria also seed themselves in the best places. Have a good weekend Cathy

    • I don’t have much luck woth Californian poppies. I suspect the slugs and snails are the reason. I have just removed a lot from a pot of Daucus carota seedlings… nothing left I am afraid!

  2. Very interesting to read and see. Yes my garden too has regular plants that just grow there, there are the wild plants for which I am very happy and find useful. For some reason a certain Hypericum comes to grow there and it will even grow inbetween cement stones, a very strong plant. There is the Cleavers, the Feverfew, and the Three-cornered wild leeks and so on. They come up every year and some travel also in different areas of the garden, slowly but surely.
    Enjoyed your post very much, thank you Cathy.

    • Interesting to hear what plants appear in your garden… so different to here. I had to look up Cleavers (I call it goose-grass!) and the three-cornered leeks, which are at least edible it seems! Thanks for your comment!

    • πŸ™‚ That often happens, doesn’t it! I have tried to grow Verbena bonariensis in various parts of the garden, but it will only set seed in the middle of the pathway where it gets trampled over!

  3. i have all the ones you mentioned except the aubretia. and this year is the worst ever – by far – for the dandelions. i also have a new, really large, colony of wild strawberry. at least we’re getting a string of dry days now, so i can really get to work. –suz in NE ohio

    • Hi Suz. The wild strawberries are wonderful as ground cover and delicious when ripe… our little dog has learnt to pick them from the plants herself! Now if only she would eat the ground elder too… πŸ˜‰

  4. I have too many unwanted wild plants and spikes that come out every year and there is no one to take them away. Cathy did not know their names. The desired ones are the nettles that I leave them, manzanilla silvestre that is born every year of a plant that I had, a carpet of small daisies that open with the heat and close with the cold, marigold I have for all areas of sun and Although they do not water them, even in the middle of winter, and I have never planted them, the red and white clovers, and the dandelion. All these plants I love and I leave them in the garden every year. Cathy loves your trail with the little violas and the wild strawberries. Have a good weekend. Greetings from Margarita.

    • Hi Margarita. Clovers grow everywhere here too, and the bees love them. I also think so many of the wild flowers are pretty and deserve space in the garden! Have a great Sunday! πŸ™‚

  5. The self-seeders do move around but I am like you, I find it hard to refuse them. Some do get moved if noticed in time but often the garden can be lop-sided but who cares? Amelia

    • Exactly! A lot of my garden is just wild grass and weeds (doesn’t get shown on this blog!) and it is amazing how many creatures are appreciative of it, so it gets left. πŸ™‚

  6. I thought at first you were going to write about shoehorning new plants into your garden πŸ˜€ but instead I have enjoyed seeing the wilder part of your garden

    • A lot that doesn’t appear on this blog is extremely wild! I am not planting anything new this year Cathy, as the garden has reached the stage where things are spreading around or need dividing or moving and I must really make the most of that! πŸ™‚

  7. Great minds think alike, Cathy – I wrote a post about self-seeders last week, too πŸ™‚ We have quite a bit of Cymbalaria muralis here but I didn’t know what it was called before, so thank you for identifying it. The big colonisers here are Erigeron karvinskianus, Nigella, Aquilegia, Muscari, and a few more. I’d love violas popping up like yours but we do have wild strawberries all over the place. It’s good to be relaxed about these generous plants, isn’t it.

    • Hi Sam. I must look for that post! I have also got Aquilegia, but it isn’t quite open yet. The wild strawberries are great for garden snacks! πŸ˜‰

  8. I’m still trying to tame the reseeders here, they don’t seem as attractive as yours are!
    Oxeye daisies and rudbeckia are some of the most reliable. Plenty of dandelions as well but each morning I watch the bunnies do their circuit around the lawn, nibbling the seed stems, and they are tolerated another year. Not that I’m worried there will ever be a shortage πŸ˜‰

    • I can’t imagine Rudbeckia reseeding… must be hard keeping them in check. I suppose there are just too many hurdles for the seedlings to jump here. (Dry poor soil, snails and slugs, etc). The dandelions are pretty bad here too as there is a whole field of them just outside our garden gate! (A shame the slugs don’t eat them!)

  9. Very interesting and nice to see your colonisers. Here the principal culprits are wild strawberries and forget-me-nots, jointly staging a take over of the entire garden.

    • I only occasionally get forget-me-nots, possibly from my spring pots. The wild strawberries have slowly spread to the entire garden and I do love them! πŸ™‚

  10. Cathy your photos are gorgeous! You’ve really captured the essence of your self-seeding garden. I particularly love your stone steps with flowers filling the small voids. I’ve been composing my own self-seeded garden post in my head (serendipity). We have many of the same self-seeders, including of course the dandelions. Some are shoulder high but in the midst of the sweet peas so I can’t yet reach them. It’s a good problem to have though. πŸ™‚ Have a terrific week.

  11. Self seeders can be such a joy, the series nestling in the steps are perfect adornments. I’m sure Gertrude Jekyll would approve, she made niches for plants like just like this – on one famous occasion using a shot gun loaded with seedπŸ˜‰.

  12. A thoughtful and insightful post Cathy. Often I’m excited to see plants happily adapting to my garden, only to find later they invited all the relatives to live here too.

  13. Lovely corydalis! I have lots of colonizers, some worse than others. Most are welcome, thankfully. I depend on a lot of self sowers in my garden – lettuce leaf poppies are a favorite.

    • I wouldn’t be surprised if my neighbours have some of my Corydalis too! πŸ˜‰ It was planted in the front and has now made its way round the house to the back garden too!

  14. Da hast du ein paar richtige “MauerblΓΌmchen” in deinem Garten. When I am in small/old towns I look for wild flowers in niches between houses and roads.

  15. I enjoyed reading this post Cathy. Here there are both the self seeders that arrived by themselves as well as those that I introduced. The former group includes corydalis lutea, violets and Welsh poppies as well as the less desirables such as dandelions. The latter is mainly made up of geranium phaeums, astrantia, erigeron mucronatus and pulmonaria. What never ceases to fascinate me is just where they turn up.

    • Oh yes, a Pulmonaria of mine set seed in the hottest driest part of my garden and is one of the healthiest plants, despite fading quickly. πŸ™‚

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