Lessons learnt number 1. – Grow what grows here!

It’s a harsh environment here, but lots of plants do flourish. So I’ve spent a lot of time playing detective and peering over garden walls, and especially investigating the wild areas around, to see what plants are growing, get some in the garden and learn to love them! Unfortunately lots are wild flowers, and getting hold of the plants and seeds can be a problem.

Just look at these gorgeous sea poppy (horned poppy), growing along on the shingle beach at Tidemills!


There’s loads of this lovely tamarix ramosissima (pink cascade), also known as salt cedar, growing, very close by. Tamarix is a decidious arching shrub with reddish stems, feathery pale foliage and characteristic small pink flowers. I needed more windbreak plants and managed to buy one as a shrub when furtively stolen cuttings didn’t seem take! It turned a glorious pink in the Summer. Right now it’s pale and insignificant, but I’m hoping for some growth and a return to form this year! In hot dry climates it can become an invasive species, consuming large amounts of groundwater.. But I don’t think it’s likely to become a problem here (she says as the rain batters down on the roof)..


Red valerian (centrathus ruber) also seems to be everywhere. Some friends had a mass of it, unwanted in the front garden of their new house, so I dug up quite a lot of it but the plants struggled to survive in my flower beds, which seemed a bit ironic when it seems to spread like a weed almost everywhere! However I notice that two plants have fresh green foliage on them now, so I’m hoping they’ll be blooming this year.

The other plant that is everywhere in my road, in gardens, in cracks in walls, in tiny gaps between paving stones and garages and anywhere it can find a space.. is the unfortunately named fleabane! (Erigeron). The nickname comes from the belief that the dried plants repelled fleas! Erigeron is a large genus of plants from the daisy family, similar to aster and bellis. Reluctant to go down the street digging up weeds, again I inherited an unwanted plant and carefully nurtured it, only it to see it shrink and vanish. But over Winter it woke up, and started forming a dense shallow mass of foliage, so I’m hoping the flowers will follow it along!

My next target is the lovely yellow marigold type flowers that grow wild in no-mans-land out the back, I think a dead flower head or two ended up in my seed box, so who knows..






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