The wild & the weedy
THE DREAM garden of my youth was full of buxus hedges, standard roses with bobble heads of snow white blooms, and lots and lots of crunchy shell chip underfoot.
Now I have a garden of my own, it’s a disaster. I could blame the three dogs who run around it at a thousand miles an hour. Biscuit likes to slams on the brakes at one particular point. She then turns on a dime in such dramatic fashion, she has created a large, smooth hole in one spot, with a deep, rutted track leading up to it.
But no. My bare landscape is more to do with a complete lack of design concept, and if it’s a fine day, my motorbike calls louder than my trowel.
Which is why I have come to love the self-sufficient flowers. There’s a swathe of sweet, pink dahlias which smother the front of the house in huge beds. All I need to do is throw snail bait out in early spring.
Then there was a mystery plant, an amazing survivor from a wildflower mix I sowed 10 years ago. No matter what I did, it lived. That included spraying out the area (for an infestation of thistles), grading large areas back to clay, spraying it several more times (again for thistle), then completely neglecting it through a couple of summers that were so dry, the whole area looked like a desert.
Yet, what I now know is borage bloomed, and it still does. It is definitely the star of my garden despite being quite messy, tipping over mid-summer. It’s a rogue, but I’ve grown to love that too. Every summer the whole garden is literally humming with bees, right down to your bones. It’s always cheerful, and it’s so faithful.
I’m waiting on my new sowings of white borage to say hello. It will be a delight.
I got hold of the March magazine quite late, the reason for the late letter.
Art, beauty and weeds are all in the eye of the beholder. In the big New Zealand book of weeds, manuka is classified as a weed. Puha, which we all treasure so much up here, is officially a weed.
The beneficial uses were mentioned in your article about stinging nettle, but not that it is so healthy, blood-cleansing, ironreplenishing and probably much more. We should add it to our diet all the time.
Last but not least, it makes the best anti-aphid spray and a very powerful, albeit quite smelly, liquid fertiliser. Gwendoline Langert, Far North