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Growing honesty

Posted: Friday 10 May 2013
by Kate Bradbury

There are so few plants that do well in my small, shady garden, but those that do thrive deserve a medal.


There are so few plants that do well in my small, shady garden, but those that do thrive deserve a medal. This week, honesty is taking centre stage, with its tall spires of brilliant white flowers, towering above more subtle spring blooms.

I love honesty. It's one of the many plants that grew in the garden of my childhood. I remember being small, looking at the intricate markings through the semi-translucent seed pods, and watching my mum transform these 'spent' plants into beautiful dried flower arrangements.

I acquired the seed of my white honesty about five years ago, from a man who had cut down his spent plants and left them in a pile in his front garden. He was happy for me to help myself so I filled my pockets with seed and took them home.

I sowed the seed shortly after removing the paving slabs in, what until then had been the courtyard (and is now my garden). Being biennial, the plants took two years to flower. Now, however, I have flowers every year, as they sow themselves around the garden, germinating at different times.

Many gardeners grow honesty for their seed pods, but it's the flowers that do it for me. I didn't know my plants were white when I took the seed, but the discovery was a happy surprise. I think I prefer the white blooms to the purple ones. They brighten up the garden and provide a lovely contrast against the background of other late-spring plants, which are still mainly green.

I wonder which plant will steal the show next? I think my honeysuckle is about to have its best year yet, or will it be something else? I do love this time of year.

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oldchippy 10/05/2013 at 18:09

the white form of honesty is taking over my garden,it escaped under the fence from next door and has seeded all over any where it can find space.