The takeover began in 2008, when I bought a few tall snapdragon plants to fill in a bare space in the rose garden in front of the house. They seeded themselves, though, and a few more plants started to spring up. By 2011, I saw the hundreds of seedlings sprouting as the snow receded, and the "cheap" lightbulb went off in my head. "Why," I reasoned, "would I go out and spend good money to buy new plants when I could just move all these freebies around?" And what made it even better was that at this size, my digging tool was, if I recall, basically a teaspoon.
Of course, the law of unintended consequences also came into play, and between the snapdragons and all the sunflower seeds that the birds and gophers planted from a new bird feeder, I ended up with plenty of visual fodder for the article "When Flowers Attack!!" I particularly prized the photo of the five-foot sunflower looming over the bird feeder like it was going to be lunch.
This spring brought even more surprises. As the snow finally melted, I went out to trim back old foliage and pull out dead plants and take inventory. And I found that none of the snapdragons (annuals) had died off as expected during the winter. And as they grew...and grew...and grew, I even had to move four miniature rose bushes out of their way as they began to be swallowed up in a sea of taller leaves and stalks.
My theory this year is to let the snaps run rampant through the flower bed. They thrive with such enthusiasm and color that just seeing them brings a smile. But I've taken to moving all the new little sunflower sprouts to a different bed, farther from the house. One invading army at a time, thank you very much!