Greenwood Gardens

16 June 2023

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Home Notes from the Garden

Volunteers of a Different Sort

Volunteers of a Different Sort

Self-sowers or self-seeding plants are a delightful and natural phenomenon. As the name suggests, self-sowers reproduce without human intervention, allowing new plants to emerge and grow in different areas of the garden each year. They contribute to the naturalistic and ever-evolving character of the landscape, creating a sense of continuity and renewal, whilst adding an element of spontaneity.

One of the joys of self-seeding plants is the ease with which they propagate themselves. Once established, they require minimal effort from the gardener, as they can self-regulate and find suitable growing conditions on their own.

At Greenwood Gardens, we embrace our collection of self-sowers. From the boldly delicate blooms of poppies to the soothing frilliness of love-in-a-mist (Nigella), these self-seeding plants contribute to the garden’s evolving beauty throughout the season.

Here are some of the self-seeders we celebrate at Greenwood and where you can find them:


Over time, these beautiful flowers cross-pollinate and, as a result, can now be found throughout the garden in all shades of blues, purples, and pinks. The bell-like shape of the flowers makes them easily recognizable. The double-flowered Aquilegia vulgaris ‘Clementine Salmon Rose’ has a fluffy appearance with its profusion of petals and is quite stunning.   Find them everywhere at Greenwood, from the West Walk, to the parking lots, to the D-Shaped Pool.

Rose Campion

Visitors won’t easily miss the dramatic deep pink rose campion (Lychnis coronaria) surrounding the D-shaped Pool. Rose campions are notable for their long silvery-green stems and their ability to self-seed readily when conditions are favorable. A white variety, ‘Alba,’ also grows near the barn.


These ornamental plants have been a common feature in English cottage gardens since the Elizabethan Era. Recognizable by their frilly foliage and dramatically shaped flowers, they self-sow if their gorgeous globe-like seed pods are left to mature. Find them most prolifically at Greenwood by the base of the steps near the Cascade. An eye-catching variety named ‘African Bride’ grows near the pergolas on the Main Lawn.