I am joining in with a new weekly meme that I have come across for those of us who love our gardens (or even someone else’s garden.) It is Six on Saturday and hosted by ‘The Propagator’. Basically a post about six things in a garden, yours or someone else’s. Plants, birds, fruit, veg, tools, plans, ideas. Preferably with photos and some words, but not too many (words that is). See here for the participant’s guide.
OK. So this week I shall introduce you to six more weeds or native flowers that I have allowed to remain in my garden. And my reasons for doing so. I adore gardens full of flowers and wanted as many as possible when I got a garden again, but I also love to attract pollinators into my garden, especially bees and butterflies so I am willing to accept any plant that serves such a purpose. I suppose there is a distinction between what is a ‘weed’ and what is a ‘native’ plant. Last week’s lot were definitely of the former in my eyes. We’ll see how many of you consider these to be acceptable.
Dove’s Foot Cranesbill (Geranium molle) is an annual herbaceous plant belonging to the Geraniaceae family. Often found in lawns where it can become a nuisance the leaves are rounded and divided beyond halfway into 5 to 7 wedge-shaped lobes. The tiny pink flowers are similarly notched. In my garden it grows along a shady north-facing wall which I call my ‘woodland border’ and grows extremely well. Too well. I had a concentrated effort on eliminating this and its cousin Herb Robert (whose leaves emit an unpleasant mousy scent apparently, though I can’t say I have noticed. I did mention I live next door to a working cattle farm didn’t I?) at the end of last summer, but allow some plants to continue to live here.
Lesser Celandine (Ranunculus ficaria) is a member of the buttercup family and its shiny yellow heads cheerfully grace the hedgerows and woodlands between March and May. It has very pretty heart-shaped leaves too which tend to form a mound. I have a couple of patches underneath my Salix Kilmarnock Weeping Willow tree and this plant brings a spot of sunshine into the garden when all else is dull.
Hart’s Tongue Fern (Asplenium scolopendrium) is a medium-sized fern that can be found growing in damp, shady gorges and banks in woodlands, as well as on rocks, walls and mossy branches. It is a very hardy plant and evergreen most of the year although after the cold weather we had here in March I have had to cut off all the old leaves. I love the way it grows in the cracks in my walls and how pretty the leaves are when they are young and unfurling. Unlike a lot of natives, this one can spread pretty much where it likes.
Common Yarrow (Achillea millefolium ) has pretty fern-like soft green foliage and flattened heads of white flowers that last a long time. Common yarrow prefers sunny locations on thin, sandy soils and in my garden is growing along the top of a granite stone wall. The leaves are edible, but tend to be rather bitter. I like it because the insects do.
Achillea is in reference to Achilles, hero of the Trojan Wars in Greek mythology, who used the plant medicinally to stop bleeding and to heal the wounds of his soldiers.
Wood Forget-me-nots (Myosotis sylvatica) have flowers which are diminutive, delicate and primarily blue in colour. While some flowers are pink and white, these are not as common as blue. They grow as annuals or biennials and self-seed easily. Or at least they do here. When I moved in these flowers were everywhere in the garden and because I love blue flowers I was very happy to see them. However, they can take over and eventually some had to be weeded out so other plants could find a place of their own. The seeds can lie dormant in the ground for years until the conditions are favourable. All I can say is that mild weather and lots of rain seems to be favourable.
Old Man’s Beard or Travellers’ Joy (Clematis vitalba ) behaves similarly to other Clematis genus. It climbs and scrambles over everything. Ideal for the wild garden, it is commonly seen in hedgerows where it stands out in autumn and winter with its fluffy white seedheads (the old man’s beard). The flowers are quite small and even have a slight almond scent. It’s not one for the faint-hearted as it grows an impressive 5 m a year even if cut down in early spring. I have inherited a very old one if the size of the ‘trunk’ is to go by, but it is in my ‘Parking zone’ and as such doesn’t bother me. In fact it covers a dull fence and helps fight off the wild brambles trying to invade from the other side. And let’s face it ANY scented flower is a bonus living here.
That’s my six, though I could probably give you another six that are not common garden plants. And apologies for being rather verbose this week.