The other day I posted about perennials, what the term "perennial" means to me. As I wrote then, a perennial is a plant that returns year after year.
Annuals are plants that live their life in one growing season and then do not return. And yet, the strange thing is that sometimes, some annuals do return. This does not make them perennials. The difference is that a perennial returns from the same root stock while some annuals will make seed, scatter those seeds and the seeds grow to form a new plant that just happens to be identical to the previous years plant.
Hopefully this makes sense. In the first photo there is a perennial in the bottom left corner and an annual in the top right corner. The annual is Silene armeria (nicknamed "catchfly" because of the sticky bands on the stem) but it self seeds quite nicely in my garden.
Here you can see the Silene combined with a lovely sky blue Iris that I happened to divide up yesterday.
It really is wonderful to have a plant that happily seeds itself all over. I find the Silene is not at all invasive, all you would have to do is pull a rake through the bed a few times and the seedlings would not return.
I don't know though if I've ever seen this plant in anybody else's garden...ever! Have you?