Volunteers and Other Arrivals

If you’ve ever decided that a weed was pretty, you’ll understand the botanical definition of “volunteer.” A volunteer is a plant that arrives in a garden, usually as seed, blown by wind or carried by bird. It’s a weed if you don’t want to keep it; it’s a volunteer if you do. My rule of thumb is that if it has nice flowers, and isn’t too invasive, it can stay. Most are annuals that re-seed, and are very low maintenance. For example, here are three volunteers which have arrived in our garden over the years: a Forget-Me-Not, a Geranium, and a Nasturtium.

Forget-me-not flowers and budsGeranium flowers and leavesNasturtium flower

Of course, most plants in our garden are deliberate introductions, not accidental arrivals. Native to Italy, tiny green leaves of Baby’s Tears arrived as decoration in a bonsai pot. They loved San Francisco’s Mediterranean climate, and were easy to propagate. Now they form great ground-covering masses wherever they find regular moisture, and add green to garden nooks. The next photo shows a yellow Freesia bloom, but a photo can’t capture its great fragrance. Native to South Africa, Freesias do well in our mild climate. The third photo shows a blue Love-in-the-Mist flower bud among lacy leaves.

Baby's TearsFreesia flowerLove-in-the-Mist flower bud and leaves

Our April garden also includes perennials, like purple African Daisies, a brilliant red Sage, and a bright blue Solanum. Also known as the Blue Potato Bush, Solanum is in the Nightshade family, and a relative of potatoes, tomatoes, and eggplants. Ours came to us when we rescued a neighbor’s discarded plant, and nursed it back to health. No matter how they’ve found their way to our backyard, they’re all putting up a great spring show.

Purple daisiesSage flowers and budsSolanum flower

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4 Comments on “Volunteers and Other Arrivals”

  1. nancy Says:

    You have interesting stuff in your garden. I love the forget-me-not’s and purple daisies. Thanks for the photos.

  2. DF Says:

    Nice pics. I like the potato bush flower. When you Rescue a plant you know its tough.

  3. Hanley Says:

    Thank you for the photos.

  4. Anthony B. Frost Says:

    Great shots. I love your garden. You can’t have much space in San Francisco?