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. I love forget-me-nots and have some growing in my garden. They self sow very easily.

    1. Heyjude says:

      VERY easily in this garden. They have practically taken over the two supposed-to-be-veg beds! But they do look very pretty.

      1. And they don’t need any TLC.

        1. Heyjude says:

          Also true.

  2. restlessjo says:

    How come 2 of your commenters have garden in their surnames? 🙂 🙂 (well, you couldn’t expect me to make an intelligent comment about weeds)

    1. Heyjude says:

      Do they? I shall have to have another look. And surely you have some ‘natives’ in your garden?

      1. restlessjo says:

        It’s every man for himself in ours, Jude. Mick has a very laissez faire attitude to the garden. I’m the ruthless one, but if it’s pretty and not overcrowding something else I’ll leave it be. 🙂 🙂

        1. Heyjude says:

          I still have no idea what your garden looks like. Please, please do a post on it showing me the overall view not just single plants. I am guessing it is looking quite smart at the moment waiting for that special person to fall in love…

        2. restlessjo says:

          It’s a bit ragged round the edges, Jude. That’s how Mick likes it. 🙂 🙂 No way am I doing a post but I will take a couple of shots out of the bedroom window and email them at some point.

  3. bushboy says:

    Fabulous native plants Jude 🙂

    1. Heyjude says:

      Well all I can say Brian is that they grow well and seem to avoid being eaten by the S&S

      1. bushboy says:

        The benefits of native plants

  4. Particularly liked your photo of the achillea!

    1. Heyjude says:

      Thank you. The achillea is rather pretty.

  5. pommepal says:

    A lovely selection of weeds/natives that will look pretty and easy care in the garden

    1. Heyjude says:

      Well the geraniums can get a bit carried away, in my first year they entirely covered the ‘woodland’ wall and self-seed in the gravel path too. Luckily they are easy to pull out.

      1. pommepal says:

        Yes they can always be put in the compost

  6. Lovely 6, lovely photos. I have many native plants that I let be; I especially love yarrow. It just seems so happy in the old house garden. Lovely to have found another blog. 😊

    1. Heyjude says:

      This is a great meme by the Prop for finding other garden blogs. We learn so much from each other, though I have already given up on the veg side of things. The yarrow is very pretty and spreads nicely along a wall.

      1. Absolutely. I have a garden linky if you are interested…..

        1. Heyjude says:

          I shall take a look.

        2. It’s open now. X

  7. kathysharp2013 says:

    How refreshing to include wild plants in this list! As a wild-flower lover of many years, though, I’m wondering about your cranesbill. It looks too smooth for dovesfoot. Might that perhaps be shining cranesbill (Geranium lucidum)? Just a thought, and lovely to see regardless.

    1. Heyjude says:

      I have never heard of that one, then again I hadn’t heard of Dove’s Foot Geranium either. Having looked it up I think you could be right. They are very similar in shape. I shall go and check on the hairiness factor 🙂 Thank you!

  8. Lucid Gypsy says:

    Be as verbose as you like, I like to be reminded and taught the names of wild flowers and I’m pleased for your bees 🙂

    1. Heyjude says:

      Not seen too many bees yet this year.

      1. Island Time says:

        Just had to ad my bit re: the bees. Not too many seen here yet either (west coast Canada), and I hope this will change soon as the apple blossom in my orchard is almost ready to receive bees! Love your Six. I too enjoy the “natives” that grow easily, if not a little too freely.

        1. Heyjude says:

          Lovely to have an orchard. Hope the bees arrive soon.

  9. Lovely collection of wild flowers and beautifully captured Jude. I can attest to the nasty smell of Herb Robert. I have quite allot in my garden. I call it Stinky Bob.

    1. Heyjude says:

      I think my nose must be affected by the smell of cow manure!!

  10. Ros says:

    Herb Robert stinks. I tried to keep it away from the vegetable patch in Somerset, but tolerated a small amount elsewhere for the bees. It was never going to compete with the forget-me-nots, anyway, which I love 🙂

    I never found celandines to be a problem. They come up in the spring, flowering when very little else does. Then the leaves die back and you wouldn’t know they were there for the rest of the year. At least, that’s how it was with us. I had them mixed in with the primroses (which eventually ‘naturalised’ into the lawn). In any case, I understand it’s quite hard to get rid of celandines because they leave nodules in the soil or something that break off the roots? Don’t quote me on that, but I think I read it somewhere. And it would explain why Mum still has some in her garden (to her joy!) despite my Dad’s best efforts to get rid of them.

    1. Heyjude says:

      I have allowed the Herb Robert to grow in the wall in the ‘parking zone’ although it does tend to self-seed in the gravel which is not so good. I agree with you about the celandines, they do seem to disappear. And they have such pretty leaves in the winter months, I am happy to leave them be.

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