I have a disordered garden, mostly by design and quite a bit because of neglect and fair weather gardening. It suits me fine and although I can feel my friends shudder when they see the welcome I give, to what they consider weeds and I maintain are merely wild flowers doing their thing, I care not.
One of these weeds is without fear of contradiction, a thug, a bully boy. Aggressively a true success story. Worshiping the mantra ‘survival of the fittest’. This is a plant of the fittest,supremely suited for life in my garden. It and I wage a silent battle of compromise and maneuvers against each other constantly. I like it. The flowers are the bluest blue. It needs no care, no protection, no work. However, if left, it has warned me, it will be the only plant left standing! Do I want that? No., of course not. Never have approved of mono culture. So throughout the year I cut it back, remove parts. It rots down into very good compost. I take the sheers to it, the spade and if early enough just bare hands. Mind it has roots in Australia so even the spade doesn’t always do it:)
It blooms from Feb to Nov, in complete dry shade, to baking sunny beds, it enjoys paving stones as much as the richer beds. If left to their own whims, which I have allowed in beds where nothing else will grow, I have great masses of blue, on their own the flowers are small, en mass a wonderful sight. Now these attributes alone might not have adhered itself to moi on their own, what sealed it’s place in heart and garden was how much bees enjoy this constant and abundant banquet. A bee plant par excellence.
In the photo you can just see the tiny blue flowers amongst the roses and raspberries, a sneaky, dead of night invasion, when I wasn't looking. Although I know they must go if the roses are not to be swamped, I do quite like them there :)
We have many discussions my friends and I over what this ‘weed’ is
Borage they all say with authority
It isn’t I say.
I have known for years it wasn’t Borage but in my usually slapdash way have never tried to find out more. I liked it, my garden liked it and really do I need a name?
Well it seemed that primitive section of my brain did. That early brain that evolved to label all, to name everything.
I said I was off to investigate the old ancestral pile. I wanted to find out a bit more about the family line from the youngest son. Not easy as obviously this was a house more interested in the heirs, and we are talking 1600s.
Walking around the gardens, I spotted a gardener, and with no thought two seconds before for of asking the question, had asked her about this weed of mine.
Where did that come from?
She didn’t know, but knew a lady that might. I found the lady who, with great appreciation of the weeds bee virtues and thuggish habits told me it was Alkenet. Well who would have thought it.
However this a wee tale of happenstance. This lady who was a volunteer gardener had studied the family of the house extensively and knew all about that younger son. We sat on a bench in the sun and discussed family trees for half and hour or more. She promised to email me more info which she has.My knowledge of that line has enlarged magnificently, and with new leads to follow more excitements I hope will emerge.
So my blue flower, my favourite ‘weed’ has even more reason to reign supreme in the garden.
Mind I will still need to cut it down ruthlessly and frequently, bullies must be kept in line
I love my garden but. . .