Wild flower garden
or are they just weeds?
Wild flower gardens are increasing in popularity as gardeners in general are more in tune with nature. Charlie Dimmock and Alan Titchmarsh with television programmes such as Charlie's Wildlife Gardens, Ground Force, Gardeners' World and Charlie's Garden Army actively encouraged gardeners to attract wildlife to their gardens and to grow wild flowers. As the countryside changes and diminishes many of us like to create a miniature countryside in our own gardens.
Click on the photographs to enlarge
Many wild flowers have decided to make a home in my garden and I leave some of them, uproot some and encourage others. Wild flowers that have just 'appeared' in my garden that I consider worthy of a place include honeysuckle, foxglove, red campion, lesser celandine, herb robert and forget me not. I have bought others, including primrose and lady's smock. Lady's smock can attract caterpillars of green veined white and orange tip butterflies.
It is illegal to uproot wild flowers in Britain, with a fine of up to £1000. Most garden centres now sell wild flower plants and wild flower seeds. If you want to know which wild flowers are native to your area try the Postcode Plants Database site (see the Links page of this web site.)
But how do you distinguish a weed from a wild flower, or are all wild flowers weeds? It's been said many times that weeds are just plants growing in the wrong place, so if you enjoy the plants that appear, just leave them! Many native trees, shrubs and flowers support wildlife in your garden.
Experts warn that foreign plants are pushing Britain's wild flowers to extinction. Nine of the ten fastest spreading species are recently introduced from abroad. Some plants such as the fen orchid and pennyroyal barely survive outside nature reserves and SSI sites. Even the cornflower is listed as endangered.