Wild About Weeds: Garden Design with Rebel Plants
Laurence King Publishing
But what exactly is a weed? The word, he suggests, is ‘merely a broad and negative term associated with any plant that pops up where we weren’t expecting it’. He settles on a definition as ‘a plant that reproduces seemingly uncontrollably’, and divides garden weeds into the ‘good, the bad and the unappreciated.’ The ‘good’ includes plants many of us grow as wildflowers: forget-me-nots, violets, bluebells and foxgloves. The ‘bad’ – too troublesome to introduce into any garden – includes ground elder, bindweed, horsetail and, curiously, fennel. You may be surprised not to see stinging nettles or docks on this list or to be encouraged to plant giant hogweed or ragwort – both illegal to allow to spread or to plant in the wild in the UK. We are on safer ground with the ‘glowing amber jewels’ of Pilosella aurantiaca, the elegant spires of Linaria purpurea or the wildly fashionable umbellifer Daucus carota.
Wallington’s lively and thought-provoking text urges us to be more imaginative in our gardens – to cherish the stately architecture of teasels or the delicate ferny foliage of herb robert; to use oxalis as decorative groundcover; to encourage campanulas and corydalis to proliferate on walls, even to plant daisies in hanging baskets. But the requirement for an international readership throws up local anomalies: British gardeners will be astonished to see exotic Ricinus communis classified as a weed (it is considered noxious in California); clarification of the UK law surrounding invasive species (especially Japanese knotweed) would have been more helpful.
Summer sale! 3 issues for £5
Try 3 issues of Gardens Illustrated today for just £5. Subscribe today and enjoy beautiful places, top planting ideas and expert advice for your garden.
*Offer ends 1st July 2022. This offer is only available to UK residents paying by Direct Debit
Container Gardening Special Edition
The Gardens Illustrated Guide to Container Gardening.
In this special edition, discover colourful flower combinations and seasonal planting schemes for pots designed by leading plantspeople, and essential know-how for container gardening success.
Just £9.99 inc UK p&p