There are quite a few *cough* wild plants *cough*, dotted around the edges of our kitchen garden where it borders onto a field grazed by cows, and in the rest of the garden where we have not yet begun to tame it. The most rampant weeds, the bindweed that filled the greenhouse and surrounding garden when we first moved in, we have begun to tame, slowly, by hand. The nettles that spring up everywhere I suspect we may never quite get rid of, but vigilance has made a big difference already, and they are relatively easy to pull out (with the protection of thick gloves!). And even these can look rather beautiful, with their serrated leaves and garlanded flowers.
While I would happily be free of most of these weeds, some have given unexpected pleasure: the simple corn poppies, their showier purple cousins, even the thistles shown below in their summer glory, which have been much beloved by the bees all summer, and now have faded into great architectural spikes which add interest and shape to the garden.
Quite often as I’m working in the garden I am quietly struck by the beauty of some of these wild forms, which almost makes up for the hard work in trying to keep up with them. Almost.
I admire these frothy umbels that float above delicate ferny foliage – is this some kind of wild carrot?
Round brown seed pods form when the flowers fade.
When these capsules fall, they leave brittle skeletal stars that dance in the wind.
The stripy purple slippers of the black horehound (Ballota Nigra) are rather magnificent. This plant is colloquially known as Stinking Roger, due to the strong rather unpleasant smell that it gives off when bruised or cut, to deter cows from eating it. A plant with attitude!
And even though my heart sinks when I come upon the sight below, telling me that I am too late to prevent hundreds of seeds that will already have come to rest nearby and be about to spring into life, I can never help but admire the shape of the dandelion clock, or remnants of one. If only it weren’t in our garden!