asterrific volunteer

We have a lovely wildflower blooming under the pine tree out front.

Some kind of wild aster growing under the pine tree

I believe it’s a variety of aster, but I’m not sure which one. Most of those I’m familiar with have a yellow center, and this one is definitely purple/pink. As you can see in this photo, there are also a ton of weeds growing under there (including a very spiny-looking dandelion of some kind) and we’ve just sort of been ignoring that area. I’m happy to see this volunteer, though!

If anyone knows what this plant is actually named, I’d love to know!


can I get a volunteer?

The answer is yes! I already did! After we had the walkways replaced, there was (is) a lot of disturbed earth around them and some weeds and other things cropped up. Some of the plants I’d planted on purpose also got disturbed, so I sort of let things be and figured once any plant got big enough for me to determine what it was, I’d make a decision about it staying or going. When the leaves of this started to get big enough for me to identify them, I wasn’t sure what it was but I knew it looked familiar.

Volunteer ground cherry

And it turns out that it is! It’s a Ground Cherry aka Cape Gooseberry! It will fruit! I’m super geeked! I definitely didn’t plant any seeds for this anywhere, so who knows where it came from. I’ll take it!



Yet another volunteer has proved itself to be lovely in my garden.

volunteer something in the front garden

Looks like some kind of daisy. If past experience is any indicator, it’s something that most people would consider a weed.

The pollinators are LOVING it, though! There are a ton of honeybees hanging around it, and I’m not really seeing them on anything else these days.

volunteer something in the front garden

While we’re down here, check out the lovely changing trees in the background!

volunteer something in the front garden


volunteer corn?

As I’ve mentioned, the weeds have gotten slightly out of control recently. Much to my surprise, what I had originally thought was some kind of crab grass or whatever turns out to be CORN! I first noticed it in the alleyway between our garage and the neighbor’s fence. This area doesn’t get a ton of sun, so I’m really surprised that corn was able to germinate here.

volunteer corn in the garage alleyway garden

If I hadn’t noticed the ears with tassles, I probably wouldn’t have realized what it was.

volunteer corn in the garage alleyway garden

Not only is there corn volunteering in that alleyway garden, there’s more in the driveway-side garden, and some in the front yard! All of the corn volunteers are really small and I doubt the ears will really develop into anything edible, but I’m going to let the ones that aren’t in the front yard keep growing to see what happens. Just when I was telling K about this weird happenstance, he noticed a squirrel running by carrying an ear of corn!

volunteer corn in the driveway-side garden


the sun is warm

And it finally came out for real today! It’s been raining and/or chilly for what feels like ages so I was really happy to see the sun full-on shining today. When I went for my lunchtime walk it was 70 with 5mph winds, so it felt glorious! I actually had to keep my walk pretty short because I wasn’t wearing uberstrength SPF and didn’t want to tempt fate.

The gardens have been happy for all the rain, but they also seemed pleased at today’s warmth and rays.

The other day I went out to empty our countertop food waste bin and noticed that something is sprouting right out of the compost bin!

something volunteering from within the compost bin

This looks pretty similar to some of the volunteers that have sprouted in the raised bed closest to this bin. I’m thinking maybe cucumbers, or zucchini? I’ll probably pull these out as carefully as I can and transplant them into the bed.

Some of the plants in the ornamental gardens are looking ready to bloom any day now.

Dutch Iris (Mixed) in the driveway-side bed:

Iris buds

Mystery plant in the garage-side bed in the back yard:

unidentified plant

Woodland Sage AKA Salvia ‘Plumosa’:

Woodland Sage

Bellflower ‘Ivory Peach’:

Bellflower 'Ivory Peach'

Dalmation Bellflower:

Dalmation Bellflower

Many of these are plants I put in last year after ordering them online. They were super tiny and didn’t really do much last year, so it’ll be exciting to see them actually bloom this year.

Speaking of things I haven’t seen bloom before, I got a ton of Pink Hardy Gloxinia on clearance last year, after it was past its bloom. Now it’s starting to get going:

Pink Hardy Gloxinia

It’s got teeth!

It's got teeth!

I’m a bit concerned about this Black Hollyhock in the front yard. It is clearly not happy, but I’m not sure what the problem is. Too much sun? Bugs? Virus?

something is killing my Black Hollyhock

something is killing my Black Hollyhock

Any suggestions will be appreciated!

More photos on Flickr.