Barren landscapes in Galveston, Texas are now thriving with new varieties after Hurricane Ike spread seeds to the area.
Hurricane Ike's storm surge smothered lawns, stripped shrubs, and left thousands of island trees for dead when it swept ashore last year. But the sludge-filled floodwaters deposited an unexpected consolation for Galveston residents mourning the loss of their greenery.
As soon as spring's warmer weather could coax new growth from the barren landscape, volunteer fruits, vegetables, trees, and flowers started to sprout in yards all across the island. The seeds were scattered to their new spots by the unstoppable surge.
Tiny grape tomatoes and melon plants are the most common addition to the island's landscape.
Although his tomato vines withered in the August heat, Burke Evans is waiting anxiously to harvest several watermelons and a cantaloupe. The fruit, cupped by colorful plaid bras, hangs from vines that staked their claim to his front yard several months ago.
Mr. Evans was surprised and delighted when he discovered the additions to his garden.
"When I realized I'd lost my trees, I needed something to cheer me up," he says.
Ike also left Evans beds of periwinkles, several papaya trees, and a few elephant ears, plants he tried unsuccessfully to grow before the storm.
While the more common plants probably came from other island yards, Evans thinks the tiny tomatoes might have come all the way from the Caribbean.