It might seem as if all my post titles of late end with an exclamation mark - but Reseeds! is actually a quote from the Annie's Annuals catalogue. And it's true - while there's a lot of to do about proprietary hybrics, Annie's will send you plants that reseed readily. With everyone loving the idea of growing plants from seed (or having plants that reseed without being aggressive, I thought I'd list my favorites here.
Above Phacelia tanacetifolia is quite possibly the most reliably reseeder I have. I started with a little packet of seeds, and now, when bloom time is over, I put the seedheads in a place where I want some plants - and in spring, they're back. Mind you, these plants have a pretty high germination rate, and I have a small jungle of Phacelia in the front garden. But there isn't a single plant in the neighbor's yard, so I consider this a winner.
Last year, I bought Layia platyglossa (Tidy tips) for the first time from Annie's and was very happy with those happy yellow faces and a fairly long bloom time. One plant of three reseeded, so I bought two new ones for this year. Not sure whether the very dry spring or the layer of mulch in the front garden is to blame.
Similarly OK, but not enough, is Clarkia cocinna "Pink Ribbons". A rare Clarkia that prefers part shade, this beautiful bloomer does well in a pot, and I got some second generation plants. But the first generation is more lush and I've ordered two new plants to supplement my volunteers.
Much more reliable are California poppies. They will come through for you even if you put down a decent layer of mulch. Frost sets them back for a bit, but they will rally and put on a show for weeks in April and May. Seeds are beloved by mourning doves, but there's more than enough to go around. Poppies might show up in unexpected places - I pull them when they show up in my front garden, or between the stepping stones. So, if you get poppies, get ready to murder some plants that show up where you don't want them.
Equally reliable and possibly even more showy is Clarkia amoena. I bought a packet of seeds 5 years ago, and have enjoyed an impressive show of blooms in late April and May every year. I pull everything out and leave seedheads in places where I want more plants. Clarkia amoena does fine with some mulch, and does not seem to travel.
A little more adventurous is Clarkia unguiculata (Elegant clarkia). I've seen it travel a few feet, then a few more feet, and I hesitate to pull them because they are so showy. Still, this is not an aggressive spreader and come July, she will be done for the year, and I can scatter the seeds, or not.
I've been a little less fortunate with five spot, baby blue-eyes, and 'Penny Black' three different flavors of Nemophilia. All delightful, five spot is the best reseeder but most of my baby plants got eaten this year (birds?). The baby blue-eyes that came up from seed are a little smaller than their parents, and seem to have a problem with mulch (though they like to come up in the gravel path). I have a few baby plants in puts, and I'm hoping they'll be ready in another week or two. But my story of growing plants from seed will have to wait for another post....
For now, I'm enjoying the bounty of spring and the surprises I find in the garden every day.