Surviving against all odds…

At the end of last winter, almost a year ago now, I had cottage garden visions, I imagined swathes of annuals carpeting my borders backed by vibrant paper daisies. So I bought packets of seeds, scattered them into carefully prepared seed trays, gently watered them, kept them in a warm spot, then every day I would check them, even talking to them. As they grew I transplanted them into punnets. Then finally, what seemed like waiting and watching and caring for so long, I put them into pots and along the border. Then waited for the burst of colour to fill my pots and borders.

But they struggled, they sulked, they finally produced a pitiful display. I was so disappointed. Maybe they didn’t like the hot, humid subtropical climate. So they were relegated to the compost bin.

But just look at this…desert rose panorama 014_5184x3888What a survivor. From wind-blown seed this tiny, tough alyssum has just popped up in the most unlikely spot. Stony, compacted ground, very little soil, dry, sunny area with very little moisture, yet it has burst into life. Nature never ceases to amaze me. Maybe I lavished too much love on the original plants, sometimes tough love creates strength in plants as well as people.


  1. Alyssum is one of my unsung heroes, Pauline. It self seeds, as you’ve discovered, in the most amazing places, and the self seeded ones do better than all the others.

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  2. When I was a little tyke, and was waiting with my mother in the waiting room of a clinic where my younger brother had an appointment, I found a small packet of wildflower seed in a Sunset magazine, and took it. Yes, I felt guilty; but grew the seed anyway. It was just a small sample packet that covered a small area, but the blooms were really nice. They finished by autumn. A few came back the following year. The alyssum was among those that returned, and is still in the garden there now! For all these years, it has been a most welcome weed.

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