A garden creating itself

Self-seeders – you love them or you hate them.

I love a lot of them – but then what is a weed? A plant in the wrong place, so they say..

I love the ever-changing rhythm of the garden. Take aquilegias for example – you can’t have enough of those! Swap with friends, buy seed packets and scatter them. See what happens. For a few weeks the garden is full of them – in many colours and shapes. I tend to favour the open ones, that will cross breed and create new varieties in the garden. But if there is a free seed packet going who am I to argue.

Some of those self-seeders can become a nuisance. Feverfew for example. I love it in theory and dig it up elsewhere to plant in a group in a difficult corner. But it always crops up in the vegetable patch. Crops up – yes, it’s probably my best crop. So I dig it up and plant it where I want it to grow. If course like many plants it’s medicinal too, but I can’t stand the taste. I wonder if I ever achieve my goal of crossing the yellow leafed one with the double flowered? The double flowered one might be sterile, but I watch and wonder every year.

Then there are foxgloves. I know that some friends in other countries struggle to grow them. But here they are native and happily take over. They are colonising plants, establishing newly roughed up ground in the wild – and in the garden. Yes, the flowers are poisonous and the roots medicinal but I love there statuesque spikes and wildlife friendliness. Every few years I buy a packet of white foxglove seeds and scatter them in a specific area, two years later I have a group of white towering plants. Then over the years they hybridise with the wild pink variety in various shades until I am back with only the pink ones. It’s fun and mostly free.

Here are few more favourites that grow well in the climate and soil around Inverness:

Meconopsis cambria – the welsh poppy, wee yellow dots

if you also have the wild red field poppy, you might get mottled orangey ones sometimes.

Lunaria or Honesty was one of my mother’s favourites and is one of mine too. Lovely flowers in spring either white or different shades of pink (even the foliage can be darker in some varieties), some with quite a strong beautiful scent. Followed in autumn by disks with seeds inside – a lovely sight against the light. In winter the outer layer of the disk and the seeds drop off and you have silver disks that make the garden glow in the darker months. These are lovely dried in the house too.

Teasel is a very architectural plant – much loved by wildlife. I put the seedlings where I want them, in groups to give height and interest to a part of the garden.

Or for some nice airy plants go for the below: Anthriscus or cow parsley. The variety Ravenswing has dark foliage and white flowers and is utterly lovely. Buy one plant and scatter the seeds once they have set or buy the seeds and scatter them. And they will crop up in all sorts of places, which gives height and a lightness in May.


Enjoy your ever evolving garden!


Anthriscus small

(picture: Anthriscus Ravenswing)