There are those that use the sticky pads that form on their stems, like the variegated ivy that covers the curve of the long wall behind the main house. Once upon a time, it was the spiller in a concrete container. It spilled right over the edge, across the gravel strewn path and up the concrete blocks of the wall. It remains there, kept from hopping the border into the beds behind the wall with twice yearly pruning by the gardener.
Natural creepers, such as the low lying Thymus family spread rapidly to fill in blank areas. The center, the plant that was placed just so in a certain spot, often dies back and becomes an eyesore while the branching tentacles have explored the great beyond. Patching then becomes necessary to maintain the carpet-y look.
There are the plant types that are thinking long term. “Don’t worry about me, save yourselves!”, they say to the seeds that wash down the driveway to lodge between rocks or even cracks in the cement. Aster oblongifolius ‘October Blue Skies’ fits into this category, as do many others.
Grasses are cognizant of the wind with graceful movements and revelry so intense that seedheads fly through the air to land and germinate some distance away. Living on a steep slope, most travel downhill on a roller coaster express that finds the seeds landing on the flat pathways, case in point, Nasella (Stipa) tenuissima.
Berry bearing plants rely on wildlife when they want to find a better life for their progeny. The shiny red morsel is swallowed and digested while the diner flits or scampers about the garden, releasing the magical seed with nary a thought. Hollies, dogwoods and the dreaded Japanese privet pop up in the soil and gravel under pleasant perches.
Breeding like rabbits, certain plants jump over the whole fruit, seed, germination ploy and produce offsets on spindly stems that snake over the soil to form new colonies. Ajuga reptans and strawberries, among others, act this way.
Time is on the side of the escapees. Do you have any jailbirds that have proven to be good citizens once free, like the viola volunteer extravaganza that occurred early on in the knot garden? These particulars freebirds are so ravishing that a yearly Beauty Pageant is held to declare the Fairest of the Faire, (this is the link to last year’s beauties). The contestants from 2012 will be shown and judged in January, 2013.