Self sown joys

Verbena bonariensis

Plants that self seed are telling you that you’re doing something right, the plant is happy with the conditions and wants to create drifts for you.  Verbena bonariensis is a case in point.  I love it – it loves my garden, it self seeds to form positive forests, if they’re in the wrong place I just pull them up for the compost heap or give them to grateful friends.  Some self seeders become by their very nature the signature plants of the garden; Verbena is one of these as is stipa tenuissima.

Festuca glauca

Another signature plant (always planted in groups of three) that adds rhythm to the garden is Festuca glauca.  Sadly this doesn’t self seed as much as I would like but it is supplying me, slowly with the plants I need.

As there are so many Perovskia planted in the central formal beds there are bound to be lots of seedlings from these.  I’m using them to give colour in new areas of the garden as a pioneer plant, I may pull them out later if I find something I like better for these new areas.


Some seeds have blown in from the surrounding fields (along with weeds of course).

Verbascum olympicum

Verbascum olympicum gives another strong upright, I will allow more of these to self seed, even though their basal leaves are quite ugly. They march in a stately manner across the neighbouring field.

Verbascum chaixii?

A verbascum chaixii look alike is along all the road verges and has put itself beautifully next to Verbena bonariensis giving a strong contrast of colours I probably wouldn’t have thought of doing.

Euphorbia myrsinites

I grew Euphorbia myrsinites and E. griffithii from seed originally and they seed themselves happily and are very tolerant of being moved into what I consider more suitable places.

Euphorbia griffithii

I gratefully accepted a small plant Salvia turkestanica when I began my garden, and when there was lots of empty space I enjoyed its exuberant growth; when I found some seedlings the following year I was pleased and moved them to where I hoped they would be useful; I even gave them some water last year to help them grow!  This year there were four huge plants.  They were beautiful for a while, but then some of them sprawled over a path and if you allowed them to touch you they imparted their unpleasant odour (not for nothing is their common name ‘housemaids’ armpits’).

Salvia turkestanica

So next year when I find seedlings I hope I’ll remember that I needed a shower every time I touched them and that the whole garden smelled horrendous when I pulled them out and I treat them like weeds.  An interesting fact is that until they flowered the leaves had no smell what-so-ever; I even doubted they really were Salvia turkestanica!

Lovely only in close-up

One thought on “Self sown joys

  1. I love the verbascums- they make such a strong vertical. When I grew Salvia Turkestanica I thought it was so beautiful,why wasnt it grown more? Then I found out. A plant for the back of the border, or possibly just for a photo!

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