On a dust-covered bottom shelf, at a local farm market, almost a decade ago, I found a box of expired seed packets. “10 cents” was scrawled across the front of the box in permanent marker and inside was a haphazard mess of flower and vegetable seeds from two, three even four years prior.
I must have been in the mood for a gamble, because I picked out a few dollars worth of packets and added them to the rest of my order. I don’t remember what came of any of them but this one, Malva sylvestris mauritanicus — Windsor Castle Malva.
When I got home that day, I threw these seeds out on the ground at the southwest corner of our house, covered them lightly with a little dirt and gave them a spritz of water. This was before I’d learned any lessons on gardening. Miraculously, they not only survived, they thrived. And they’ve been coming back every year since, taking over more of the lawn, spreading northward along the side of the house — even after last year when Rosemary, the bottle lamb, ate them down to nubbins.
I’m partial to perennials because I do enough planting every year in the vegetable garden, I don’t want to have to sow flowers seeds, too. But these ones changed my mind, at least about some annuals. If they can sow themselves and make the place pretty, more power to ‘em.