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Volunteers, self-seeders, rogues, invasives . . . Whatever we may choose to call them, nearly every gardener eventually encounters a plant he or she did not purposely put in the garden. We’re often surprised, and hopefully, usually happy to see them. I’ve been blessed with several this year.

  1. Goldenrod in my Terrace Garden: It is a loner and has been just the neatest, tidiest plant all summer long. It’s a practically perfect specimen, in my opinion. I probably should pull it out now, before it seeds and blesses me with a full bed of goldenrod next year, but for now I will just enjoy the bright spot of sunshine it adds to the early autumn garden.

2. Butterfly Bush, courtesy of my neighbors: Every summer, I can count on a few of these drifting over from my neighbors’ large bed of Buddleia and Zebra Grass. It usually does not get as big as this. It has filled a blank spot in the Terrace Garden quite nicely, and it’s welcome to come back next year if it wishes.

Here’s a smaller one growing behind some Schizachyrium ‘Blaze’, which, incidentally, looks the best it has since being planted four years ago. Definitely not where I would have chosen to plant a butterfly bush, though!

And here’s a third one, growing in the cracks of the retaining wall.

I can see that Buddleia has the potential to be invasive in the right climate. I’m not worried about that here in northeastern Pennsylvania, though.

Never did see a butterfly on these, but there were a lot of bees!

3. Petunias in a Planter Box: Okay, I know where these came from. These petunias are the progeny of petunias I planted in these boxes last summer.

Since we had our deck renovated in early summer, I took the boxes off the railing and didn’t fill them. Since they don’t fit on the new railing, they’ve sat in our driveway, unloved and neglected all summer. Rabbits, or woodchucks, or deer have occasionally nibbled them, but they’ve recovered. I did dig a couple out and transplanted them into my side porch containers, where they’ve added a nice splash of contrast to the predominantly yellow and pink arrangement.

4. Nicotiana in a Pot: No mystery here, either. These came straight from seeds dropped by last year’s flowering tobacco.

5. Calendula amidst the Monarda: Two years ago, I grew a few calendula in the vegetable garden, just about six steps away from this spot. Last year, one or two showed up in the vegetable garden. This year I had no vegetable garden (it was part of the overall deck renovation), so this one had no choice but to migrate over to the patch of “Jacob Cline” bee balm. These are its first open blooms. I will not be unhappy if one or two show up here next year as well. Maybe I’ll even plant some on purpose!

6. Sunflower: Many years, I plant morning glories in this box, and they twine around the spindles of our little second floor alcove. I started watering the box in mid-summer, with the thought that some morning glory seeds would sprout, but instead, I got this sunflower! It was nice of the birds to leave it there, wasn’t it? And there’s another one coming!

Six on Saturday is a regular blog feature hosted by The Propagator, who invites us to share half a dozen things going on in our gardens each week. Why not click on the link and see what other gardeners are up to this week?