Right before the cops showed up —
(Which is a rather boring story about Brown and Steve photographing flowers with the homeowner’s permission and a paranoid neighbor calling the police on them, but when you get the opportunity to start a post with “right before the cops showed up,” you use it.)
— Brown and Steve learned about volunteers from a gardener with a magnificent yard. A volunteer is a plant, typically an annual, which has emerged in the garden without having been planted there. Brown and I are still learning what lives on/in/around/under our own property, and while the landscaping is practically nil there have been some surprises. Over the past year, we’ve discovered:
- 60+ azalea bushes in at least 10 different variants
- A mature fig tree
- Two crepe myrtles, left unpruned so long they have forgotten how to bloom
- Four hibiscus bushes, likewise with the pruning
- A single weedy rose bush
- A single cherry tomato
- A single morning glory vine
The rest, as he wrote, is ivy.
Obviously the majority of the plants on the list are not volunteers: I can’t remember the last time someone told me about a spontaneous crepe myrtling or drive-by rose bushing. But the cherry tomato and the morning glory are giving me little thrills of joy each time I see them. They’ve both emerged within the last two months in one of the areas which was completely smothered in ivy. Once the ivy was removed and the ground dug up, a couple of dormant seeds must have finally gotten exposed to the sun.
It’s interesting to see these plants; they could have come in by way of bird poop, but our elderly next-door neighbor has said that Mary Jarrell spent hours in her garden. While there still might be a long-forgotten flower bed somewhere under the ivy, we haven’t seen any scrap of garden worth mentioning. A cherry tomato and a morning glory within fifteen feet of each other, though, smacks of relics.