The Unexpected

One of the best things about gardening is the unexpected.  Like the weed growing through the crack of an urban sidewalk, nature lets us know that she’s got things under control. So while I till the soil with great expectations, and smile when things I plant grow, I also delight at what I didn’t see coming.

Here are a few:

Orange Cosmos

orange cosmos

Orange Cosmos burst on the scene

I’ve grown pink and white cosmos, from seed and from starters. One summer a volunteer crop grew as tall as me , producing flowers all summer long.  That same year I gave away seeds at Christmas. They’re such an easy-breezy flower to grow. Imagine my surprise though to discover this mystery plant was orange.  Isn’t it stunning? This plant is a meter tall and started blooming this week.

orange cosmo

Late afternoon bloom

Tomato, Tomato

tomato plant in crevice

Out of step: Tomato plant grows from the patio steps

After clearing away the last of the Anemones, I found a tomato plant growing out of the bottom of the patio steps. It was probably staying warm from the plant cover and didn’t know it was fall.  I can’t bare to pull it out, so I’ll leave it for now and see what the plant has in store. It makes me smile

Passionate Pink

Pink zinnia

Zinnia bud

Tomorrow’s Zinnia

This self-sown Zinnia took the place of the Bachelor Buttons in my triangle garden. It offers a pretty pop of pink as the rest of the annuals go to sleep, an unexpected color on this gray day.

Another Pumpkin?

fall pumpkin

The little pumpkin that tried

Look at this little pumpkin trying to grow. It even flowered.

Nature’s Ribbon

Have you ever curled ribbon with the edge of your scissors?  If you scrape the wrong edge, you end up straightening the ribbon instead. That’s why I’m particularly impressed with this self-curled edge of a fern. This plant makes it look easy.

nature made curlicue

Garden ribbon

Wishing you a weekend of the beautifully unexpected*

*Rats and broken appliances do not apply

39 thoughts on “The Unexpected

  1. I love seeing unexpected beauty pop up in strange places too! I am glad that you are going to leave that little tomato plant to see what happens. I would have done the same thing. It is neat to actually see flowers in your yard, while I am sitting here in Cleveland, OH watching the lake effect snow come down on us! At least we don’t have the amounts of snow that Buffalo, NY has! Your post today made me smile to see the beauty growing in your yard! 🙂


    • That snow is unbelievable. My heart goes out to you and everyone else ‘snowed in’. I’ve been reading about roofs caving in from the weight of it. Crazy!

      I’m glad you enjoyed the unexpected. We are lucky to have this extraordinary weather.


      • Oh I know Alys, I have said many many prayers for those who live in Buffalo that they can be safe! I will never crab about our snow ever again because we don’t get seven feet of it at one time. I just woke up now at 3:00am and it appears that the snow is still coming down here since before I went to bed – – guess I will be shoveling later!

        Liked by 1 person

    • Marlene, I do indeed. I hope your garden is doing well in your absence. It won’t be too long till you’re home now.

      Everything is moving at a snails pace. The first appliance repair doesn’t work on Bosch dishwashers. The second place needed more information to see if they could get the part, so two phone calls later I’m in limbo. One…maybe two, rat traps are on their way. Still washing dishes by hand and feeding the rat under the sink.


      • Only you Alys, would feed the rat. It’s why we all adore you. I prefer to wash dishes by hand. I use the dishwasher as a drainboard. 🙂 I use it if I have company that wants to help but doesn’t clean well. I still want them sanitary. I do hope you get it fixed and the rats to a new home. 🙂


      • Well, you know – given that it has not only volunteered, but done so in the most challenging of places, every little bit of support you can offer would be so appreciated I am sure! I’d like to suggest you go all out and surround it with fairies and tinkling bells and have Mike and the boys greet it every morning with words of hope and happiness – but that might be going too far and asking too much? 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

          • I imagine they might make comments about my sanity – but that’s okay, many do 🙂 Really glad to hear you are having rain. We are too – and cold winds blowing at gale force. November is usually a lovely month here, but not this year. I wonder if we might get an even worse summer than last year. Surprisingly though, many of my plants are doing well.


  2. The orange cosmos is lovely – especially at this time of year. I love finding unexpected seedlings in my garden – I had two tomato plants appear after spreading some compost in September, and I found a baby walnut tree in spring… I have no idea who dropped a walnut there to seed. Maybe a bird or perhaps our squirrels? Hope your rat has moved on…. Have a good weekend Alys!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Cathy, will the walnut tree be allowed to grow where ‘planted’? I hope so. The squirrels plant all sorts of peanuts, but they don’t grow in our area so I just find them the following summer when I’m digging the beds. They also plant pumpkin seeds, but usually in the middle of the lawn. Too funny.

      Have a good weekend…I guess it’s already Saturday for you.


      • I actually pulled up the baby walnut tree by mistake, so I planted it up in a pot and left it the semi-shade of the house all summer and it is now about 3 feet high! It has been given a much larger pot for winter and will probably be wrapped up warm too, and then we will find somewhere to plant it out next spring! 🙂


    • Christina, this was the first I’d heard of them. I’ve had such varying heights with Cosmos. Some remain about a foot high, others, like this one grew a yard/meter. Now that I think of it, the ‘volunteer’ plants are the ones that get really big. Perhaps they do better when they reseed a second season. Something to ponder.


  3. La la la, chirp charpity chirp (that’s a happy little birdie that flew onto a branch in Nirvana) ❤

    Honestly, I've *never* seen orange Cosmos, that's just wild. I can't even picture a seed package with orange ones either. It's like some white Cosmos got together with a pumpkin that battled the bugs all summer for one fantastic encore. Don't you love when Mother Nature gets the last word? She's one sassy lady, hehe. They're really unique aren't they? The stamen and petals are virtually the same colour, I don't know if I've ever seen that before. Very special indeedie hon.

    'The Little Tomatoe That Could', might be a whole story all it's own. I picture a wee book, with cute illustrations. Baby tomatoes with little toques on, but smiling. 😀 That'd be fun to see it thrive. Will you mulch or feed with any nutrients for a helping hand? Maybe you can serve them at Christmas dinner!

    What I like about your last photo is that you noticed it and celebrated here. That's what makes your garden so special to me, we get to see the magic through your eyes and that's what wonderful. xoxox I hope it's not grey today, I'm feeling way too happy for grey and sending good vibes your way (although I see your garden has beat me too it) xoxoxo mwaaaa.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello little chirpy bird. I left you some cat fur in the trees today to keep your nest warm.

      I’m blown away by that orange Cosmo myself. In fact, when I searched by image yesterday, I didn’t even consider that till looking at several photos. Crazy! I love your definition of that unique hybrid. Honestly, sometimes I think I should just toss seeds over my shoulder and forget about them. Nature keeps my garden looking great.

      I’m imagining tiny tomatoes with toques and grinning ear to ear. You are so clever.

      I won’t be able to mulch or feed since the roots are inside the crack of the steps. The best I can do is shelter it to keep it warm. I suppose I *could* get an eyedropper and squeeze a few drops of gardener goodness in there. You make me smile.

      You say the sweetest things. Thank you, especially, for that last paragraph. Though today is gray, I hope it develops into desperately needed rain. The sun is shining brightly on my blog though. xoxox

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Alys, your photos grow more beautiful with each post. Impressive clarity, color, and composition. I LOVE nature’s ribbon!
    *good luck with those rodents / appliances*
    and have a happy weekend!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Laurie, your kind words gave me the ‘warm and fuzzies.’ Thank you so much for that. I’m learning as I go, and between you and Joe, pick up tips here and there.

      Isn’t nature’s ribbon something? I couldn’t believe it. In ten years, I’ve never seen that fern produce such an interesting curl.

      Thanks for your best wishes re appliances and rats. It’s still a work in progress.


  5. I’ve never heard of zinnia (maybe we don’t have them over here), but they’re beautiful! And we too have had plucky tomato plants braving the cracks in the patio. I wasn’t too fastidious about clearing up the last few fallen fruits of last year’s crop, which probably explains their presence. Your photos are stunning, and much in need for rainy, cold England. And yup, that cosmos is beautiful.


    • Well, what do you know: they’re native to North America. Here’s an article if you’re interested. I once confused them with Dahlias and wrote a whole blog about them, only to be kindly corrected by several readers. I planted Dahlia bulbs that never came up. The Zinnia was a small annual that I thought had died. Apparently it dropped enough seeds and now reproduces each summer.


  6. The Cosmos, the tomato, the pumpkin–even the rat–all these things clearly point to one thing with certainty, Alys. You ARE Mother Nature, and all things gravitate toward you like a magnet and are wholly unwarranted. The spontaneous growth of myriad living things unveil themselves daily on planet Nirvana. And with good reason. They are cared for, tended to, and appreciated. If I could choose my next go round, I’d want to pop up in your garden (or even under your kitchen sink!)


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