Seen at the Festival of the Tree

...if you would be happy all your life, plant a garden ~ Chinese proverb

Sunday, 15 June 2014

GBBD: Erigeron karvinskianus


If you were to look for lists of the top garden self-seeders on the internet, Erigeron karvinskianus aka Mexican fleabane would figure highly on most of them.

It's also the first plant I consciously made a design decision to include in our garden 15 years ago, after seeing a magazine picture of it merrily cascading down the steps at Great Dixter.

Since then I've been given a plant (which died) and cast many a packet of seed around to no avail. It seems self-seeders prefer to do it for themselves here and my own use of this characteristic is frowned upon by mother nature.

Therefore, we have plenty of tree seedlings, Cotoneaster horizontalis, Centaurea montana, aquilegias of various ilk, furry lamb's ears, Allium christophii and Eryngiums all squeezing themselves into any space they can find whilst I'm not looking. Any seed scattered by me - such as from the self-sown foxgloves - gets ignored completely.

Imagine my surprise when clearing out the patio pots earlier this year when I found a tiny Erigeron plant amongst the self-sown violas. I quickly transferred it to the top of the central garden steps, where I'd planned for it to be all along, though I thought a conscious intervention on my part was sure to seal its doom.

Perhaps that thought was its salvation, because it's still there. Fingers crossed for the self-seeding down the steps bit and my subsequent post wishing I'd left well alone ;)


But then, having seen it in beautiful profusion at Iford Manor last week, perhaps I won't need to write that follow-up post after all.

Which - if any - self-seeders are welcome in your garden?

Garden Bloggers Blooms Day is hosted by Carol at May Dreams Gardens.

24 comments:

  1. The same sort of thing happened to me with limnanthes. From a whole packet of seed I managed six plants.which struggled, From them self seeding I ended up with a carpet. Similar thing with primroses by seed - nothing but collect seed and sow immediately and success, The secret here is sowing fresh green seed.

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    1. Derry Watkins at Special Plants is ahuge advocate of sowing fresh, so that's a top tip Sue :-)

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  2. At first I was so pleased when some aquilegias blew in on the breeze...but years later, they are so rampant. Seeding here and there as they please, they are thugs!
    But lavender self seeding is always a bonus...

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    1. Yes Bridget, aquilegias are pretty rampant both here and up on the allotment. I haven't had self seeded lavender - yet...

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  3. I think that we all have the same problem, I know I do. Seeds I sow often do nothing, self-seeders on the other hand seem to grow everywhere. With most of the annuals that I grow I both save seed to resow and also leave to self-seed. I'd rather too many growing than too few. Flighty xx

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    1. Isn't it funny how plants try to confound our best laid plans? That's part of the fun of gardening :-)

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  4. I too planted the little Mexican Daisy in what I thought was well drained soil, it died. The next year though seeds started growing up between the paving and the house walls. Under the paving is mostly sand with just a bit of mortar, so I suppose it liked the sand, we are on heavy clay. Last winter the plants sat under the water that had flooded the patio, for at least 2 months, so I was amazed to see them again this year.!

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    1. I'm on heavy clay too Pauline, perhaps that's why it's been hard to get it going. It's in a relatively poor soil now so fingers crossed I have it in the right spot now.

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  5. We have whole meadows of Erigeron annus. Rudbeckia, Tithonia and Madagascar Periwinkle freely reseed here; Black eyed Susans are blooming now. Tithonia and Periwinkles are just coming up now that it's really hot.

    Our early spring bloomers like Larkspur, various Poppies and Silene do best when seeds are collected, saved until late fall and then scattered. They come up at the right time and bloom freely.

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  6. Violas are welcome here, and on the more unusual ones self seeded Peltoboykinias are never pulled out.

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    1. I'll be rehoming some of my self seeded violas when I get back :-)

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  7. I have managed to persuade this Erigeron to move from the side of our drive, where it looks very pretty, onto the top of a wall as well, where nothing much will grow. It took me a few years but I am very pleased. I have found many foxgloves seedlings this month. Always welcome and I had enough to give away to a friend!

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    1. The picture of Iford shows Erigeron on top of the wall. It looked lovely, so well done on persuading yours to do the same.

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  8. I love Iford Manor, I walked very close to there recently - tired little legs meant I didn't quite get there. Next time, and I shall look out for that lovely little flower. How lovely to finally find one growing in your garden. I do hope it's happy in its new spot.

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    1. It's taken me 30 years to get to Iford, I think my return visit will be much sooner :-)

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  9. Most self-seeders in my garden seem to be weeds, I'd love foxgloves, eryngiums and fritillaria to self-seed, but they don't. I have Erigeron karvinskianus in a pot where it does really well, it was sown after I'd seen it growing profusely in a garden in Devon. The one flower that spreads like mad is aquilegia which is fine.

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    1. I drew a veil over how well the weeds are doing ;-)

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  10. I read about this little daisy many years ago in one of Margery Fish's books and coveted it immediately. I can't remember how I came about the original plant but it has increased over the years and is dotted about all over the front courtyard. It's probably flowers longer than any other plant in the garden. Himself calls it a weed and has tried to obliterate it on more than one occasion without success :) I'm always amazed to see the price it sells for. I hope that your plant survives and multiplies.

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    1. It's multiplied already - Victoria gave me another plant :-)

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  11. Most self-seeders in my garden come here by bird droppings, I probably pick up about 1000 holly seedlings every year, they grow on bark mulch, not much does! But I have had some lovely things blown in, a couple of ferns suddenly appeared in the cracks on the paving, they are now big, healthy plants in my garden, and I also have a rowan sapling I intend to grow to a full tree, it is only a foot tall still, but small trees grow big eventually :-)

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    1. I wish some ferns had blown into my garden, I need some for the front garden :-)

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  12. I have aquilegias and rose campion (Lychnis coronaria) by the truckload, but I don't mind. I'm hoping to coax a few more self-seeders this year: California poppy (Eschscholzia), viola tricolor, ceratotheca, and verbena. The erigeron is charming; I'll have to add that to the ever-growing list.

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    1. I envy your sucess with the Californian poppy - another plant I've tried to establish here without success

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