Lets Hear it for Happy Accidents!

Happy accidents are the best ever!  Through serendipitous chance, amazing things happen in the garden when you least expect it, much like when Ami (- Southeast Florida Garden Evolvement) found orchids hiding in her bushes.
Today I was rummaging through the agapanthus island in the back yard (it becomes an island in the rainy season) and found that tropical christmas cacti had taken root and done well over the winter!  These were plugged in amongst the lily of the nile after they were left out on the patio and dried out.  The cactus' leaves detached as a result, so I laid them out in the soil and promply forgot about them.  .I found that prayer plants made it over winter here too, but as soon as I uncovered them they got scorched by the sun.  With that in mind, I left a light covering of pine straw over them until they reach the light at their own pace.

Another victim of neglect, the kalanchoe was left out on the patio all winter on its side and left for dead.  Right after the coldest weather had ended, it started to flower.  One stem was actually detached from the plant and flowering without soil, so I brought it inside for my mom.

It started to dry up without the humidity, so she put it in her window bud vase where it  perked up immediately!  Its been in that water for a few weeks and it doing great, even though kalanchoes hate wet feet.  The colors even changed from red to pink!

These mums flowered two years ago, died, and were thrown into the swamp to decompose in the floods.  In fall last year I found them coming back from the dead and flourished! 

Click on the picture to the right and you'll find a prickly pear cactus growing in a live oak tree amongst the spanish moss and resurrection ferns, likely from a seed in a bird dropping years ago.  This amazing anomaly can be found at Washington Oaks Gardens.  One of my favorite "happy accidents" is when terrestrial plants end up growing in trees as epiphytes.  Succulents are especially good at this, since the conditions are similar to a dry terrestrial habitat anyway.  I've seen sedums, purple heart and pothos grown this way, as well as any variety of ferns.  I've seen several sabal palm trees in the joints of live oaks with full trunks!  The tree is just a natural pot after all...

 What happy accidents are growing in your gardens?



  1. I threw a blood lily into my "crap" pile when it went dormant, thinking it was dead. It was a VERY happy surprise when it bloomed!

  2. RFG: Thanks for the link! Surprisingly you still remember the lady slippers I found in my front yard. BTW, I found some more after that. If you are near by, I will definetly give you some to grow :)

    Don't you love those kinds of happy accidents? Plants are much more resilient than what we thought. I threw some ornamental potato leaves and branches into my compost pile, and now they are growing through the pile!

  3. Oh, forgot to mention that I love the way that kalanchoes grows in the water! Very beautiful shape, almost thought it is arranged in that way on purpose.

  4. How neat...the prickly pear in a tree!!! LOL. Hey, I found a Kalenchoe growing out of the sliding track of my screendoor windows once...in no dirt!!! Of course, I transplanted it and it is doing great!

    The Kalenchoe you took in for your Mom is awesome in the window there in water...wow...makes me want to try that!!!

  5. RFG,
    There is an old pine tree growing in my front yard. I find all sorts of of epiphytes growing on it placed there I guess from the birds.It has supplied an elkhorn fern as well as several air plants over the years. -- The Cactus in the oak tree is way cool!

  6. RFG, how wonderful "accidents" are!! Your Kalanchoe is a blessing, as well as your mums!! I would LOVE to see the prickly pear in the tree...how bizarre! I think my biggest accident has been the beauty that became of my next door vacant lot. I have a 6' privacy fence surrounding my property, with an adjacent vacant lot. I'm also lazy. So when I weed, or find dead or dying plants in my landscape, they get thrown over the 6' fence. Out of sight, out of mind. To my surprise, I ventured on that side of the fence to dispose of my recyclables one day (this is my son's job usually, and the bins are neatly hidden behind shrubbery in the vacant lot) and found a lovely scene of wild daisies, annuals, etc. It's really very pretty! Not bad for an accident! :)

  7. Wow, that's quite an achievement based on the numerous happy accidents! I wanted to disposed of my 3 year old citrus plant, so I trim it to its last branch, uprooted it from the flower pot, stepped on it many times to loosen the soil and left it on the ground to decompose. After 2 weeks when I came back to look at it, it actually produced more shoots and now it is growing again - a never ending story?

  8. Looks like you've found a lot of "happy accidents" in your garden. It's amazing how resilient plants can be. These must be some of the toughest ones around. Thanks for sharing them with us.

  9. The kalanchoes growing in water really amaze me! Please let us know if they happen to develop roots that way.
    I don't think I have any Happy Accidents myself. I do know of a gentleman in Columbia, SC that threw some Grapefruit seeds in his compost bin. Not exactly Citrus Country up there. It's been some 20 years or so and he gets about 200 Grapefruit off of it every year. He still does nothing to it, the guy is 96 years old. Poor guy can't even eat it because of his medications.

  10. I wish i had room for a compost pile! It seems that compost bins are the mother lode of happy accidents! :)


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