When we bought our house in Sunnyvale, the yard (well, more like a patio, actually) was formal and hard. We soon started making it more informal, by taking out hard, thorny plants and putting in softer ones. As time went by, we found that some of the plants we put in propagated in unexpected ways. We left some of them where they came up, making the yard even more informal. For example, the Japanese Iris started coming up from seed all over the place. ("That isn't grass, it's an Iris seedling.") The Agapanthus, Nandina, Wisteria, and Chinese Pistache did much the same.
Ma Nature has also provided us with volunteers, such as the young Alder tree in this picture. →
The shambling mounds on either side of it are honeysuckle vines — more volunteers. The smaller plants with rows of pointy leaves are some of the Pistache seedlings I mentioned earlier.
← Here's a close-up of one of the honeysuckle vines, which would take over the entire patio if we let them.
(Click on a picture to see a larger version.)
copyright © 2011 Allen Watson III