Ten ‘Popular’ weeds


Japanese Knotweed and Bindweed making a happy display on my allotment every summer!

We made a new video showing ten more common weeds, which after this post hopefully will also be more popular! Unfortunately the embedding did not work this time so please click on the link below:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=777Or-msBFo

A brief description of the weeds with pictures by my partner Matt Summers, unless stated differently, follow below this introduction. Most weeds have been covered in a more detailed post in earlier posts and then mostly about their whole family for which there is a link on the start of each plant description.

Weeds are not all bad; they are just inconvenient for us human beings.

Maybe we were just going to plant another more attractive plant in that place or maybe we desperately needed that exact spot for making a new drive for all our vehicles we need to park in front of our house? Or another more common reason is to just remove it as it looks aesthetically not pleasing to our tidy eyes!

Don’t worry I can just be as bad sometimes and not have a really proper reason for removing a weed…

But this is the exact reason why I write about them and try to make us see all their known good uses they got. All their bad reasons for existence are mentioned on many websites and this is hopefully not why you came to my site in the first place?

Continue reading “Ten ‘Popular’ weeds”

The Boraginaceae: Green Alkanet, Forget-me-not, Houndstongue, Viper’s-bugloss, Oysterplant, the Gromwells and Lungworts!

Myosotis scorpioides or the Water Forget-me-not

This week I would like to talk about most native genera of the Boraginaceae or Borage Family. This is family number 107 in Stace.

Most species of this family have inflorescences that have a coiling shape, at least when new.  The corolla varies in shape from rotate to bell-shaped to tubular, but it generally has five lobes. It can be green, white, yellow, orange, pink, purple, or blue. 

Most pollination is by hymenopterans, such as bees.

Most members of this family have hairy leaves. The coarse character of the hairs is due to cystoliths of silicon dioxide and calcium carbonate. These hairs can induce an adverse skin reaction, including itching and rash in some individuals, particularly among people who handle the plants regularly, such as gardeners.

In some species, anthocyanins cause the flowers to change color from red to blue with age. This may be a signal to pollinators that a flower is old and depleted of pollen and nectar.

Bright blue flowers which are attractive to us and bees.

 I am starting off with the evergreen Pentaglottis sempervirens  which  flowers during several months from spring into summer with bright blue flowers on long stems.  

It has deep reaching, black, thick roots and it is classified as one of the more difficult weeds on the RHS website although it is not native in the British Isles.

Several of my customers have it in their gardens and mostly don’t mind its invasive habits too much as it is such a valuable flower for bees and other insects.

It was introduced from south west Europe and now widely naturalized at least as far north as Walsall (!) and prefers  moisture retentive soils.

Continue reading “The Boraginaceae: Green Alkanet, Forget-me-not, Houndstongue, Viper’s-bugloss, Oysterplant, the Gromwells and Lungworts!”