Self-seeders are gifts in a cottage garden
Here are some lovely cottage garden self-seeded plants thriving in ridiculous conditions.
I know we aim to give our plants the best start with good soil, water and space but look here how perennials have tucked themselves into tiny slivers of exhausted soil between brick pavers. They’ve relied on rain for water, have had no plant food and have been trodden on. And yet they are thriving.
Firstly an echium, a tall blue biennial usually sold in 9cm pots. Here it is self-seeded in a crack in the brickwork. I certainly won’t remove it but when it’s 3 ft high next summer I’ll have to walk round it.
Hardy geraniums forever!
Next, a hardy geranium of course. You can rely on them to put themselves about, here squeezed in with a dandelion, like two people playing sardines. Since reading Jack Wallington’s “Wild about Weeds” I don’t pull up dandelions and actually welcome their yellow flowers in spring. I’ll leave this one too.
Another hardy geranium growing in a crack. Makes me wonder why we take so much care with how and where we plant them. A crack in paving seems to work.
Below is a more choice geranium, probably a blue one like Orion or Brookside, surviving in a crack and being trodden on every time I walk by. It even flowered.
Here’s a self-seeded ajuga – they’re appearing all over the place, with mind-your-own-business creeping along the cracks. What a bonus.
Below a valerian has self-seeded into a stony dry spot at the front door. I buy these at £4.99 a pop because I want they are the red ones rather than the drab muddy pink ones that grow wild. We shall see what colour this turns out to be. Next to it is a seeded ajuga again, in such an inhospitable place. Fantastic.
A real self-seeded treasure
And lastly just one of the many alchemilla mollis seeded into the paving cracks again, all down the front path. There must be a dozen at least and I treasure them but I couldn’t get them out if I wanted to, their roots are so embedded.
So when I fell in love with this kind of garden at East Lambrook Manor I just hoped that I’d end up with this patchwork of self-seeded simple common plants. I don’t yearn for exotics or riots of summer colour – I just want a living space where plants move around on their own and make the space their home. Leave them alone and they will come.
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10 comments on "Cottage garden self-seeded plants that I leave alone."
Absolutely incredible – a revelation and such a happy approach to gardening – just turned it upside down 👍
Ah thanks! I laughed at the upside down comment. And the book “Wild about Weeds” is marvellous. I’m letting my nettles go mad (probably a mistake, we shall see).
Hello. Lovely post. The unidentifiable weed Is a nasty wild geum – nasty because it’s little dull yellow flowers are nothing like the garden varieties, which I love, and are usually missed anyway, so it seeds everywhere, unnoticed. Do you know Erigeron annuus? 4ft+ hooligan self-seeding short life perennial. A great weaver and gap filler – and a lofty crevice-invader! Best wishes – enjoy your autumn gardening. HY
Ooh thanks for that Helen. Jack Wallington doesn’t mention the geum as being a good thing so I will winkle it out. Reading his book has really changed my attitude to most uninvited seedlings but that one has nothing to offer I can see. There are quite a few! I don’t know that Erigeron. I struggle to grow the lovely popular little one everyone raves about. I have one plant and am hoping it will seed around. I will check out the one you mention, thanks so much for your comment. I read a bit of “Pyjamas” every day. and here’s hoping for Chenies Fair next year. Julie
my self seeding isn’t as grand and I do get tired of weeding.
Grand? What have you got?? Do you keep some? Nice to hear from you Beverley, Julie
Love to see this plants just choosing where to be. My ajuga pop up all over the place too.
It’s great isn’t it, considering to buy one would be £5 or more!
I love it when plants remind us that the garden is their space, not ours.
Oh well said. The opposite of exerting control over the garden (never works). My ways have definitely changed over the years to less fuss and control. Thanks for your comment Caroline. Julie