A Self Seeding Puzzle

It's late summer, and I'm doing the rounds, chopping and trimming back yet another variety of self seeding plant. And I'm quietly wondering why I only take proper notice of such plants when they're past their use-by-date - I'm always missing out!

 Filling the gardens so beautifully with their spiky flowers.
A Mixture of Aquilegias

There's this chopping and trimming wave which flows through my garden, starting in late spring with the Aquilegias. They are allowed to flower everywhere and anywhere, and I spend many spring days peeping into their ferny rosettes, willing their flower stems to grow.

 All my foxgloves are flowering.
Magenta Foxglove

Then all too quickly they're looking dreadful, and get the chop - well, to be more accurate, the trim. And there are so many of them!

Foxgloves Next

Second to catch the chopping and trimming wave are the foxgloves which, again, are allowed free rein of the Moosey garden borders. And paths - especially the paths. I love all my foxgloves - I'm particularly enthusiastic about the magenta coloured blooms.

But, like the Aquilegias, I seem to take the most notice of the beautiful foxglove spires when they're ninety nine percent seed-head - with a few ragged flowers left on top. Aargh! It seems I've missed out again.


Then the wave washes over my patch of weedy yellow flowering Verbascums. They line the edge of my water race, and I think they're so cute. And they have such pretty yellow flowers - don't they?

Then I ignore them for weeks, and suddenly - shock, horror! All those felty fat stems are flowerless. When did that happen? So these characters get the axe, literally, and I spend hours - days! - dragging their heavy remains onto my compost heap.

 They look great if you squint at them!
Verbascums by Middle Bridge

But there's more. Late summer usually throws up a few days with heavy wind. Overnight my beautiful, quirky, sticky-stemmed Nicotiana sylvestris self seeders fall over, and become horizontal.

 My favourite big perennials.
Nicotiana Sylvestris

Nicotiana Sylvestris

I love these plants. But I've only just noticed them - and they've all finished flowering! How can this be? Where are my spectacles?

The answer to the puzzle lies in the very nature of self seeding flowers. You see, they've made their own decisions as to where to grow, often ending up in random, out-of-the-way places. I haven't grouped them together in drifts of odd numbers to be drop-dead gorgeous and noticeable gap fillers in the perennial garden.

No Responsibility

I haven't taken any responsibility for their season in the sun, and so they do their flowery thing quite independently of my controlling hands.

I resolve to be more appreciative of my self-seeders next year. And perhaps I will transplant just a few of those path-blocking foxgloves - seven, or nine, or eleven should do nicely - for next spring, in a position of my choosing...