I like to garden because I get a chance to create something appealing that sustains itself and grows in value and beauty.
Roses are a great value, because they are everyone's favorite flower, easy to grow, and productive. Moreover, they get stronger and more productive year after year, even though some bushes die out or do not do well.
But today I feel obliged to deal with other plants that establish themselves and spread or re-seed on their own.
Everyone's excuse is - it takes years to grow. Decades later, they are still saying that. Once again, asparagus is easy to grow. Dig a hole, put the two-year roots in, fill the hole. Rich soil and mulch are good ways to have a great plant. Digging tons of soil is not needed and really counter-productive. The first year stalks are thin. They are better the next year. After that, cut the stalks that are as thick as a man's thumb.
I bought Triple Crown Blackberries, which are thornless. Last year they were getting settled. This year they are packed with flowers, forming berries, and spreading through their roots.
Like blackberries, they thrive in the wild and are easy to grow.
For flavor one can hardly beat Heritage. They spread through their roots and only need to be thinned out.
Horse Mint is a plant loved by hummingbirds, bees, and butterflies. I bought a number of them, including ones on clearance. There they sat, absorbing rain-barrel water and not seeming to do well. I did find one or two blooming and attracting a hummingbird. This year all of them have spread through clumping and looking great.
Do not laugh too hard. Birds plant this wherever they perch, so it is a question of which ones I allow to grow nine feet tall. They will feed the birds their bright red berries in the Wild Garden area, where the stalks already look robust.
Queen Ann's Lace
Call it a weed or call it wild carrot. I like it, and so do beneficial insects. There are more elegant carrot family plants but none so hardy and blue collar as this one - dubbed the "truck parking lot" weed.
I never had luck with strawberries, but wild strawberries are all over the back yard. Why? See the pokeweed entry above. Once the earthworms spread through the yard and I watered in dry spells, the strawberries filled in the shady garden, bloomed, and fruited. They are also around the trees and in the lawn where the clover has not taken over yet. The backyard is almost all cover where I once had grass, and I am happy about that.
Herbs are almost always beneficial insect friendly and often self-seeding. Some examples I have planted or soon will -