Plants With A Single Blue Flower
garden surprise1
(Image credit: David Prasad)

Serendipity can be found in numerous places; in fact, it's all around us. So exactly what is serendipity and what does it have to do with gardening? Serendipity is making unexpected discoveries by chance, and in gardens, this happens all the time. There are new things to be seen or uncovered everyday, especially in the garden.

Serendipity in the Garden

Planning a garden is fun. We put everything in its designated place, exactly how and where we want it to be. However, Mother Nature sometimes has a way of rearranging our gardens and placing things how and where she wants instead. This is serendipitous gardening. Serendipity in the garden can be anywhere. Look closely and you will find it. Take a stroll through the garden and you're sure to find a few welcome newcomers, or in some cases, not so welcome. Within the garden lies an abundance of surprises just waiting to be discovered. Perhaps it's in the form of a new plant; one that you never knew was there. Maybe you planted your garden with a specific color theme in mind. Then you go out one day to discover, by accident, another plant is happily growing within your carefully color-coordinated garden. Your patriotic red, white and blue garden now has a touch of pink added to the mix. You stare at the lovely new flower, the one you did not plant here, and are left in awe of its beauty. Apparently, nature feels this plant will look better here and will be better appreciated. This is serendipitous gardening. Maybe you're busy designing a beautiful woodland garden, lush with wildflowers, hostas, and azaleas. Your goal is to create a well-designed path for visitors. With the careful placement of plants, you design a specific and perfect pathway for morning strolls through the garden. However, as the days go by, you begin to notice that some of your plants seem unhappy with their new locations. Some have even taken on the process of finding another suitable place, suggesting that your path take on a new life, a different direction that leads another way. Your careful design, your planning, your specific direction has all been changed by nature. This is serendipitous gardening. This is how gardening was intended, full of surprises. Don't be alarmed. Instead, enjoy the unexpected! Perhaps you have a small container garden with new sprouts popping up. You haven't a clue what these interesting looking plants are. You come to find out later that the plants in question were from your neighbor's garden. Nature has struck again. The seeds were carried by wind, finding your container garden to be a suitable residence. This is serendipitous gardening.

Enjoy the Unexpected in the Garden

What is serendipity in the garden? Serendipitous gardening is and can be an interesting alternative to traditional gardening. Rather than going through the task of designing your garden to perfection, just sit back and allow nature to do all the work for you. This is, after all, what she does best, harmonizing the landscape by letting the plants choose what type of soil they prefer and in what area they would like to grow. Most of us are taught to take complete control of our gardening environment, but sometimes nature understands, better than we do, how to keep our gardens balanced. It's simply a matter of having the right plant in the right microclimate at the right time. We shouldn't try so hard to grow the perfect garden. We should try letting go of the belief that only we know how and what our gardens should be like. Allow nature to have its way instead. When nature takes over the garden, it's full of pleasant surprises. What could be better than that? So enjoy the unexpected in your garden.

Nikki Tilley
Senior Editor

Nikki Tilley has been gardening for nearly three decades. The former Senior Editor and Archivist of Gardening Know How, Nikki has also authored six gardening books.