Monday, 14 July 2014

Wilderness Gardening (or The Garden`s gone to a wilderness).

 Due to an ongoing back problem I have had to give up on gardening this year so I shall miss the joys of digging our own potatoes and fresh vegetables. However, one benefit of this is that the amount of wild flowers has increased this year. Over the weekend I took my camera around the garden to see what I could find.

Burdock. A plant very highly rated by herbalists.


Bramble flowers. It loooks like there will be a bumper crop of blackberries this year.

 Buddleja. The Butterfly Bush.
This is a great attractor of butterflies, although I don`t see too many around yet this year.
There is a definite reduction of all the white butterflies in the garden this year as they don`t have any cabbage plants to be raiding.

 Selfheal. Another plant which by its name gives us a clue that is also highly regarded by herbalists.

Broad leaved willowherb.

 Buttercup. One of the first flowers which all children learn the name of.

Changing Forget Me Not, which changes colour from creamy yellow to pink and then to blue as it opens and develops.

 Feverfew, which is used by a lot of people as a treatment for headache. I have tried it myself. I didn`t find it anygood but I will never forget the awfull taste. I think I`ll stick to paracetamol.

 Feverfew pictured here with birds foot trefoil.

 Foxglove. This is a very powerfull and poisness plant. The latin name for this is Digitalis. A commonly used drug for people with heart problems was developed from this plant.


Another thistle. There seems to be five or six different types of thistle in the garden and i am afraid I just can`t identify them.

 Fuchsia. A plant loved by the bees, especially in the Autumn when other flowering plants are scarcer.

 Herb Robert, a member of the geranium family.

 Hogweed. This plant has been cursed by many people. If you use a garden strimmer you should make sure to use a full face mask and keep your neck and hands covered as the strimmings of this when they fly against your skin can leave horrible blisters. Its cousin the Giant American Hogweed which is an invasive plant and very common along many of our riverbanks will give you third degree burns just by brushing off it and getting its sap on your skin. It can also leave you with a condition whereby any infected skin can no longer be exposed to sunlight. Everybody should make themselves aware of this plant and teach their family about it.

 One of the remaining carrots from last years crop left go to flower.

Marigold. The flowers of this plant are edible and its petals are often used as a garnish on salad plates.

Nippleworth. This plant has lovely yellow flowers but will never open until the sun comes out.

Stitchwort. There are several varieties of this plant. I`m not sure which this one is.

Tutsan, a lovely looking plant.

White Clover. A great plant. It puts nitrogen back into the soil, it provides a huge amount of nectar for honey bees and is a great grazing crop for farm animals.

Himalayan Balsam. A pretty flower but it is highly invasive. It can be seen taking over many roadside verges and should be cut down as much as possible. Now I have it in my garden.

Speedwell. Another pretty little flower of which there are many varieties.

Scarlet Pimpernel. The flowers of this plant are tiny. If it was bigger there is no doubt that the garden centres would be selling it for its lovely colours.

That was the result of my journey through the jungle formerly known as my garden. I`m sure that I probably missed a few but it just goes to show that if left alone, nature will do a very fine job of gardening.The identification of all the wild plants around us can be quite difficult but I find that a good book is a great help. One that I got recently and which is excellent is The Wildflowers of Ireland by Zoe Devlin. Zoe is also very helpfull to any queries on facebook as are the many experts at Ireland Plant Identification forum .