A Sweet Volunteer

“A Sweet Volunteer”, a copyrighted post, was written for my WordPress blog called Always Growing by Jan in Covington, Louisiana

Where would we be without those odd volunteers that always seem to pop up in our gardens?  Many are unwanted and are pulled up right away, while some are nurtured or transplanted to another area.  I have written about a mugwort volunteer that has added to the garden.  Now, I have another native plant that has volunteered to do duty in my garden.

This is the second year this plant has been in the entry garden.  When I first showed up, I wasn’t sure what it was, but it did look familiar.  In the fall, it started blooming and that assured it a permanent place in the garden.  I wasn’t quite sure what it was.  At first, I thought it might be a wild aster, but now I am almost sure it is ironweed.  It really is a prolific bloomer.

The first year it grew rather tall and lanky, but this summer, I cut it back twice which made it a little stockier.  Even though the flowers are small, there are so many of them that there still is a nice display.  Most of the other flowers in the entry garden are played out by this time of year, so this sweet little volunteer is a welcome addition.

Take the poll and tell how you feel about volunteer plants that show up in your garden.


  1. Brenda Kula said,

    October 26, 2008 at 10:59 am

    Yep, a volunteer means a freebie. So unless it is the poison ivy that currently resides on my body, I will usually let it grow. Unless it’s ugly, of course. Or looks like a weed.

  2. Racquel said,

    October 26, 2008 at 1:53 pm

    Some of my favorite existing plants in the garden right now started as volunteers like my stick verbena. 🙂

  3. Jan said,

    October 27, 2008 at 4:47 am

    I am with you, Brenda. I usually let an unknown grow until it starts to look like a weed. If the foliage is attractive it gets to stay until it is known. This is how I also got blue-eyed grass for my garden. Little seedlings of coleus or other “good” plants are usually easy to spot and save. Like you said, its a freebie.

    Racquel, I like the surprise of a volunteer. I sometimes get them from nursery plants, too.

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