Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Wild Flowers Not Weeds

I've just come back from a couple of days gardening in Norfolk. Not exactly local, but as it was a family job, I got free food and lodging.
I've spent this visit working primarily on the front flower bed with it's mixture of azalea, heather, conifers, anenomies and foxgloves making sure that everything has some breathing space and taking out the grass that's seeded itself amongst the flowers. In the process I discovered a hypericum hiding under a conifer and lots of wild strawberry plants which have made themselves at home. The irony with a semi-wild garden like this is that although I've filled two humungus bags with debris, it doesn't look as though it's been touched!
My father-in-law's garden is very different from most as he likes to encourage all kinds of wildlife including birds, beetles, bees, flies, moths, butterflies and all manner of other insects having a keen interest in all things natural, which means his view on planting (or what makes itself at home) is quite liberal. The garden was established about 15yrs ago and incorporates a small pond, a rockery and some great borders, but is mostly left to it's own devices. Consequently it's a lovely mixture of perennial planting and self-seeded wildflowers all happily jostling in together - a massive patch of honesty (lunaria annua) with it's pretty little purple blooms has sprung up since my last visit and I've only seen the dried silicula seed cases before. I'm usually let loose on it once a year or so to keep it under some semblance of control and it's a real joy to work on as you never know what new plants you're going to discover.

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