Noun: The occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way.

‘a fortunate stroke of serendipity’

Post-It notes, microwave ovens, Sri Lanka and penicillin all have something in common with a weed in my garden. Do you know what it is? Of course you don’t, unless you skulk around near the door to my garage. Just underneath the hanging basket. A weed that was within seconds of being extricated from the block paving has flowered and is a beautiful little viola. Now that, along with the yellow stickies, ting ready meal heaters, a beautiful island in the Indian Ocean and ‘three times a day with food’, is a truly serendipitous find.



I guess weeds are simply plants in the wrong place at the wrong time, but this little fella sprung up from nowhere and is a gorgeous purple.

How can I honestly uproot it when it has gone to all that trouble? The seed was sown by something, it germinated, struggled between the brick paviours, sucked up every meagre drop of water it could, grew leaves and then went to the effort of flowering.

And that’s an expensive exercise for a plant. I just wish the ones I grew in pots and shower with love and attention were as robust.


But my serendipity doesn't stop there. Oh no, far from it. After emptying and demolishing an old shed I used the previously opened bags of compost I discovered lurking beneath some garden furniture as a soil improver. I dug their contents in, let the worms do their bit and planted into the resultant healthy soil. Then sunflowers started to pop up. None I sowed - they were in a different part of the garden - but smaller varieties that I allowed to mature into juicy bloomers. Nice. Obviously, the makers of that particular compost used materials with sunflowers nearby. In this case and garden situation, a lovely serendipitous addition.

Then only a couple of weeks ago one plant in my ever-increasing collection of auriculas pushed up a proper healthy flower spike. Nothing surprising if it was March or April but this one appeared in July. Auriculas always are always beautiful, even when appearing next to my tomatoes, cucumbers and bedding. A definite occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy way.

Just in case you were feeling warm, cosy and sated with the love of gardening, I have to mention the opposite of serendipity.

I have discovered that growing aubergines will attract whitefly. And slugs into the greenhouse. I have discovered that growing carrots without any protection will attract carrot fly. I have discovered that major sporting events will always clash with the local village horticultural show and cause heartache as to which one to attend. I have discovered that the word ‘zemblanity’ is often used to express a series of chance events bringing unhappy or non-beneficial results.

But who cares about zemblanity and whether it is even a recognised word? Serendipity is the watchword. That little viola is staying. The sunflowers are wowing the local bees and the auricula, lasting only a week, brought a joy to my heart. Plants always do. Except the other weeds in the path. They have to go. Obviously.