Teasel hedge!

Teasel hedglet

Teasel hedglet

This spring I noticed an abundance of teasels pushing their way up between the paving slabs where I sit in the sun to enjoy a cuppa whilst surveying the awesome garden growth and living world around me. So I looked and decided to leave them be and I have to confess a soft spot for this plant, it grows tall, has unusual spiny leaves cupped around the stems trapping pools of water and hapless insects that fall in.
teasel and hover
The flower head is egg shaped and softly prickly, green in bud with a band of tiny flowers opening in a purple ring around the centre at first and then progressing up and down giving a longish flowering period. There’s a wonderful tactile feel to the whole thing.
ladybirds
The flower heads are probed by bees and butterflies, the stems crowded with sucking aphids and their predators the ladybirds, adults and nymphs feeding on the bugs, the whole plant a veritable ecosystem in itself!
I left these plants to grow and went away for some weeks on holiday. When I returned they’d reached for the sky, one and half meters tall, ox-eye daisies had joined the fun and there between the paving slabs had created a little screen growing in a straight line by my chair, a mini hedge that I enjoyed all summer long watching creatures come and go until in the autumn cutting the plants down to hang up to dry.
Teasel hedge lives on, winter decorations too!

Teasel hedge lives on, winter decorations too!

And now the seed heads sit with me indoors over the winter reviving those summer memories and decorating my winter hearth indoors.
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You will reap just what you sow!

Mini meadow

Mini meadow

Weeds are the joy bringers of my gardening day, there I’ve said it now, i’m obviously a nutter, a lazy gardener that allows these rank invaders to take over my plot whilst I sit in the sun with my rose tinted spectacles perched precariously on the end of my nose!  It’s true, I don’t believe in making gardening hard work, digging and hoeing everything into oblivion but I do the necessary jobs and then go with the flow, try and be flexible…I should explain that I’ve been pondering the virtues of weeds for some days now as I write my latest talk, ‘The wonderful world of weeds’ and I actually find that these sturdy vagabonds, these untamed mongrels lift my heart as I potter about doing my best to create a colourful, lively garden full of living things.

There are two sayings that come to mind when i think about weeds but with a slight twist on the interpretation i think they rather sum up my style and approach to managing my garden:

‘one years seeding, gives seven years weeding’.

And the second is: ‘you reap just what you sow’.

Poppies popped up

Poppies popped up

Usually these are quoted to somehow lead us to doomsday scenarios, the weeds ruling over everything in the garden, total disorder, loss of produce, a scene of neglect and dereliction. But,think about it for a moment, supposing you manage the weeding in a careful way that favours ‘good plants’, the ones that seed yes, but that you know and love and then learn how to recognise those seedlings and plants at all stages of their growth.  I sowed the mini meadow in a tiny corner of my veg plot, they flowered beautifully, set seed, I cut them down, composted them, spread some seeds along the way and hey presto, mini meadow pops up in a newly dug piece of ground nearby. It’s different character and make up of plants is the happy surprise. I recognised the seedlings early on, I was careful with my hoeing, took the decision to let them stay and was rewarded with a colourful profusion of chancers. If we take the latter quote first and also combine it with a healthy dose of careful composting, then the possibilities are positively joyous and combined with the first quote, a veritable recipe for wonderment in the garden for years and years to come!

Lovely compost to share

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sharing the spoils of the compost heap

sharing the spoils of the compost heap

friendly garden companion, the Robin

friendly garden companion, the Robin

compost feeds the garden