Cultivating Roadside Finds
Driving around Tennessee, we noticed a profusion of native pink roses blooming from a wild bush growing along the country roads—stunningly beautiful and thriving with no attention from anyone. I was hoping to find it growing wild along the edges of our property so I could get a few cuttings to plant around our home. We found one growing on the edge of our neighbor’s property, and with permission nabbed our cuttings!
My favorite horticulturist in Texas is Greg Grant. He specializes in finding plants and flowers growing along highways, in cemeteries, and behind abandoned buildings—plants thriving in Texas with obvious neglect. He cultivates his findings and brings them to local nurseries for others to enjoy. I used to buy dozens of his Henry Duelberg sage, a plant named for the botanist Henry Duelberg since the plant was discovered growing on his grave in a Texas cemetery. A low maintenance, heat tolerant, native perennial with masses of showy blue flowers. I would plant them en masse around our Texas homestead.
Cultivating native plants and flowers growing in wild spaces is a delightful way to add blooms to your own nook! And you can feel good about propagating beauty that is suited for the local conditions and require less maintenance from you.
How to cultivate your own roadside finds:
Pay attention: Look for blooms in offbeat, neglected places.
Sow seed pods:The easiest way to get natives on your property is through sowing found seeds. If the flower or plant is in the “going to seed” phase, grab a few to sow at home.
Cuttings: Taking a few cuttings with a sharp knife will not damage the mother plant.
Research: We use a plant identification app to determine mystery plants. Every plant has a particular way it is best propagated. We have always followed the guidelines closely and have had great success.
Find your own native, neglected blooms and bring them home to enjoy!
Happy gardening! xo