Six on Saturday | Bring on the Natives

I am joining in with a new weekly meme that I have come across for those of us who love our gardens (or even someone else’s garden.) It is Six on Saturday and hosted by ‘The Propagator’.  Basically a post about six things in a garden, yours or someone else’s. Plants, birds, fruit, veg, tools, plans, ideas. Preferably with photos and some words, but not too many (words that is). See here for the participant’s guide.

OK. So this week I shall introduce you to six more weeds or native flowers that I have allowed to remain in my garden. And my reasons for doing so. I adore gardens full of flowers and wanted as many as possible when I got a garden again, but I also love to attract pollinators into my garden, especially bees and butterflies so I am willing to accept any plant that serves such a purpose. I suppose there is a distinction between what is a ‘weed’ and what is a ‘native’ plant. Last week’s lot were definitely of the former in my eyes. We’ll see how many of you consider these to be acceptable.

Dove’s Foot Cranesbill (Geranium molle)  is an annual herbaceous plant belonging to the Geraniaceae family. Often found in lawns where it can become a nuisance the leaves are rounded and divided beyond halfway into 5 to 7 wedge-shaped lobes. The tiny pink flowers are similarly notched. In my garden it grows along a shady north-facing wall which I call my ‘woodland border’ and grows extremely well. Too well. I had a concentrated effort on eliminating this and its cousin Herb Robert (whose  leaves emit an unpleasant mousy scent apparently, though I can’t say I have noticed. I did mention I live next door to a working cattle farm didn’t I?) at the end of last summer, but allow some plants to continue to live here.


Lesser Celandine (Ranunculus ficaria) is a member of the buttercup family and its shiny yellow heads cheerfully grace the hedgerows and woodlands between March and May. It has very pretty heart-shaped leaves too which tend to form a mound. I have a couple of patches underneath my Salix Kilmarnock Weeping Willow tree and this plant brings a spot of sunshine into the garden when all else is dull.

Hart’s Tongue Fern (Asplenium scolopendrium) is a medium-sized fern that can be found growing in damp, shady gorges and banks in woodlands, as well as on rocks, walls and mossy branches. It is a very hardy plant and evergreen most of the year although after the cold weather we had here in March I have had to cut off all the old leaves. I love the way it grows in the cracks in my walls and how pretty the leaves are when they are young and unfurling. Unlike a lot of natives, this one can spread pretty much where it likes.

Hart’s-tongue Fern

Common Yarrow (Achillea millefolium ) has pretty fern-like soft green foliage and flattened heads of white flowers that last a long time. Common yarrow prefers sunny locations on thin, sandy soils and in my garden is growing along the top of a granite stone wall. The leaves are edible, but tend to be rather bitter. I like it because the insects do.


Achillea is in reference to Achilles, hero of the Trojan Wars in Greek mythology, who used the plant medicinally to stop bleeding and to heal the wounds of his soldiers.

Wood Forget-me-nots (Myosotis sylvatica) have flowers which are diminutive, delicate and primarily blue in colour. While some flowers are pink and white, these are not as common as blue. They grow as annuals or biennials and self-seed easily. Or at least they do here. When I moved in these flowers were everywhere in the garden and because I love blue flowers I was very happy to see them. However, they can take over and eventually some had to be weeded out so other plants could find a place of their own. The seeds can lie dormant in the ground for years until the conditions are favourable. All I can say is that mild weather and lots of rain seems to be favourable.

Forget me nots

Old Man’s Beard  or Travellers’ Joy (Clematis vitalba ) behaves similarly to other Clematis genus. It climbs and scrambles over everything. Ideal for the wild garden, it is commonly seen in hedgerows  where it stands out in autumn and winter with its fluffy white seedheads (the old man’s beard). The flowers are quite small and even have a slight almond scent. It’s not one for the faint-hearted as it grows an impressive 5 m a year even if cut down in early spring. I have inherited a very old one if the size of the ‘trunk’ is to go by, but it is in my ‘Parking zone’ and as such doesn’t bother me. In fact it covers a dull fence and helps fight off the wild brambles trying to invade from the other side. And let’s face it ANY scented flower is a bonus living here.

That’s my six, though I could probably give you another six that are not common garden plants. And apologies for being rather verbose this week.

Six on Saturday


  1. Pit says:

    We try to “go native” here in our garden, too. The only problem we have with native or non-native plants: the deer eat nearly everything. So we are quite limited in our choices for plants. But then, seeing the deer browsing on our lawn is worth it.
    Have a great weekend,

    1. Heyjude says:

      You too Pit 🙂

  2. Pete Hillman says:

    These are beautiful, Jude, and very nicely photographed. I really enjoy seeing the Dove’s Foot Cranesbillon my walks. That black and white first image is fabulous!

    1. Heyjude says:

      Thanks Pete. That clematis seed-head is very pretty as are the flowers, but they are tiny.

  3. Ali says:

    I love all these. Any cranesbill is welcome in my garden. Yarrow too has its place, and of course forget-me-nots, though I do have zones for it. I also allow red valerian, foxgloves and purple loosestrife their places. Your photos are lovely. Especially the Old Man’s Beard.

    1. Heyjude says:

      I have red valerian and yellow loosetrife and last year there was one foxglove! I’d like more, but they haven’t decided to move in just yet 😉

  4. beetleypete says:

    You do so well with these, Jude. I am trying to think if we have six things in the garden,
    1) Roses. (Front garden)
    2) Tulips.
    3) Daffodils
    4) Violets.
    5) Rosemary.
    6) Mint.
    Just made it! 🙂
    Best wishes, Pete. x

  5. Sue says:

    Don’t apologise for your verbosity, Jude…it’s interesting. And reminds me of one or two plants from earlier life that I had almost forgotten….

  6. Good oohing weeds, I love them. It is a balancing act though. Cow parsley is currently running wild in the churchyard I garden.

    1. Heyjude says:

      I rather like cow parsley, it grows in the lanes here, but not in my garden. For some reason the common hogweed prefers to grow!

  7. Tish Farrell says:

    It’s good to be generous towards the wild plants, and this is a lovely selection. I have been interested to note lately that lesser celandine seems intent on world domination.

    1. Heyjude says:

      It does seem to be moving out of the hedgerows and into the garden. I do like the leaves though and the yellow at a very dull time of year. Better than the creeping buttercup which is also coming back.

      1. Tish Farrell says:

        Oh no. Not the creeping buttercup!

        1. Heyjude says:

          And boy does it creep, into all the nooks and crannies too 😦

        2. Tish Farrell says:

          I am infested up at the allotment. Even if it’s buried in a compost bin it keeps growing bigger and better.

        3. Heyjude says:

          I have taken to disposing of weeds instead of composting them. In fact my compost bin is a waste of time really. Takes so long to compost and I have far more garden rubbish to dispose of.

        4. Tish Farrell says:

          I have ants at the allotment. They move in on the plastic compost bins and actually seem to digest dandelions and buttercups during the summer. An unexpected asset.

        5. Heyjude says:

          The ants just move into our house! Though I have seen some in the compost bin.

        6. Tish Farrell says:

          Definitely not welcome indoors.

  8. Su Leslie says:

    No apology necessary; you’re providing a much-needed lesson in plant awareness / identification for me!

  9. A lovely selection of wild flowers, although I am at war with lesser celandine in our garden.

    1. Heyjude says:

      I can see that this one could become a bit of a thug.

  10. janesmudgeegarden says:

    I think I would be happy to have any of your natives in my garden! They all have a purpose and are rather pretty.

    1. Heyjude says:

      I think the lesser celandine might prove to be a problem, but I shall keep my eye on her.

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