The balsam plants we grew from seed 6 or 7 years ago have been returning ever since in the same tub.
There have been scarlet ones and white ones; now there are just some very small baby-pink ones.
I took the photo a few days ago after a brief shower.
Half hidden among the green folds of a four o’clock flower head are two black seeds.
Unless I pick them out and scatter them elsewhere, they’ll drop straight into the gravel of the courtyard ready for next year’s crop.
The plants shouldn’t really be there – they come from seeds dropped down from the flower bed behind the retaining wall. But they obviously feel very much at home and my efforts to get them to grow in other places have been in vain.
Scattering a few seeds gave rise to a single plant, which then self-seeded to a nice little clump.
The ground in the orchard which we planted began as bare soil, populated at first by the growth of its inherent seeds.
After a few years these wild anemones arrived, blown in on the wind from the olive grove where they’re well established.
When wisteria pods fall onto a hard surface, they don’t make a muffled thump like I would have expected. They clatter like pieces of flat wood.
They are in fact pieces of flat wood. They’re thin and hard and the only way to open them is to snap them across.
I did that to the two pods in the picture and took out the two seeds.
I pushed the seeds into soil in a pot indoors, watered them, and to my great delight one of them has sprouted a dainty, rather lost-looking little shoot.
I mustn’t get too excited. Even if the seedling survives, a wisteria grown from seed doesn’t flower for ten years or more because it stays in a long juvenile stage.
This is the first year the wisteria has had seed pods (other than one or two) so I’ll now be watching for any seedlings that grow without my intervention in the soil around the mother plant.
Our fennel isn’t the sort that forms white bulbs you can eat, but I still love its aniseed scent.
I bought one plant about 5 years ago and let it seed, and I’ve been finding little fennel plants everywhere ever since.
These stems on the parent plant got the chop today so as to prevent a total invasion.
I checked each one carefully to make sure there were no swallowtail butterfly caterpillars on them, but I suspect they’re a bit tough for that. In fact I’ve only ever found caterpillars on young plants.
There was one on a young plant today; I don’t what species of butterfly it belongs to.
They’re not roses, of course, but they’re one of the most beautiful of all wild flowers.
Looking them up on the internet to see if I could find any explanation for their name, I came instead upon 2 facts about rock roses in general (there are a lot of different kinds, including some shrubs).
The first is that they’re specially adapted for recolonizing after forest fires because they have very durable seeds which crack open when heated and germinate quickly, allowing the plant to get a head start.
The second is potentially very interesting in this area.
They’re able to create a symbiotic relationship with truffle mushrooms and have even been considered for use as host plants for truffle cultivation instead of oaks, pines, etc.
When the rainstorms have stopped making us feel like Noah’s Ark here, I must remember to go back and look for truffles wherever we have rock roses.