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I am very disappointed with the show gardens that have been on television. Valerian and Cow Parsley is not something I wish to see at Chelsea nor Red Campion. It belongs in the lanes of Devon. I am desperately trying to get rid of valerian and take the flower heads off before it seeds.

I have got so fed up with the gardens I have given up on watching and hope sanity may prevail by the time we get to Hampton Court.


It was intersting to see how they have used wild flowers including buttercup (yuk),

and so many have gone for the wild 'weed' look. I have enjoyed the coverage even the red button with toby and tom, But why do thay have to have rdt on so much. Still you can't win everything.


A weed is only a weed, if it's in the wrong place !!

Personally I loved the Chelsea gardens this year, I enjoyed the more informal approach. And it gives me hope that next time a clump of red campion springs up in my garden I can just murmur modestly "It's inspired by Chelsea, you know" .

I am quite surprised at the depth of feeling from Lorraine Kelly. Plants which are close to the wild plants, genetically, will hopefully be easier to grow and give me more time for developing  and designing my garden. Last year I was exhausted trying to keep my sweet corn, beans, etc alive in my very dry garden > I really want to garden -smart, and not be traipseing with water buckets, etc. I have no outside tap, just a water butt. My tomatoes were wonderful, tho! To summarise plants/weeds which are easy to grow in my garden get my vote! And campion looks gorgeous.But, its not an 'either or' position. My front garden is packed now with irises, lavender, etc-viz, dry-loving plants.I have also left a lovely thistle, as it is very architectural (!) and finches love them, supposedly.

I am torn as to whether I love my  plants or my birds, hedgehogs and so on more! And I wouldn't mind a mole or two. (better be careful what I wish for,huh?)



I suppose all our cultivated garden plants were wild flowers or weeds at some point, then their beauty/ usefulness caught our ancestors' imagination. I remember nurturing what I thought was an unusual hardy geranium, which turned out to be a field buttercup! I have teasels and foxgloves in my garden which plonk themselves around and I just take out or relocate as I fancy. I'm lucky enough to live in Devon, and the campion and umbellifers flowering in the hedges right now are sublime. Wouldn't mind a bit of that in my garden, but generally feels like the lanes are an extension of it, so nature's saved me the trouble. I do find valerian a bit tiresome, but mainly because it sows itself in my Walls and can be destructive. I don't want to segregate my garden from nature.
Gary Hobson
figrat wrote (see)
...I suppose all our cultivated garden plants were wild flowers or weeds at some point...

Part of the issue is that many plants in many people's gardens were never wild flowers - at least in this country. This includes all of the tender plants that many people grow.

Nature always grows the right plant in the right place. If people are lucky enough to have cow parsley growing in their garden then that's because cow parsley has evolved to grow well in our climate and our soil.

Very pretty annuals, that come from South Africa, ought to be growing in South Africa: they don't like it here. When grown in the UK they are 'plants growing in the wrong place', so you might call them the weeds!

Gary Hobson

The trend towards naturalism at this year's Chelsea is part of a social trend.

It's caused by the inevitable pressure that agriculture is placing on our native habitats, and the desire of people to do something practical about this, which they can do, by giving a home to nature in their own gardens.


Our ecology is in dire straits now because of the preference for exotic plants and chemical solutions for the last several decades.  Because of the extensive loss of habitat our domestic gardens are essential to preserve our wildlife and the show gardens at Chelsea this year have highlighted the fact that it is possible to have a wildlife-friendly yet beautiful garden. 

Well I agree with nearly all of the mail after my last post, but I am not sure about the native plant argument ie don't grow South African plants, for instance. Osteospermums will do well in a dry hot summer. I notice that a rather beautiful orange azalea was really happy and flowering well this year. Presumably native to the foothills of the Himalayas? It liked the wet spring!

And the bumble bees love my yellow nasturtiums! So, I think a variety of plants will give you SOMETHING every year-gazanias and osteospermums in a dry year, and astilbes and ferns and azaleas in a wet year.

Of course if you have a wet garden/climate(Lake District? parts of Scotland ?) maybe you will always favour wet plants. And so on...

Wildlife seems very adaptable. It's loss of habitat which is the primary concern. I read a heart-breaking account of koalas dying during logging in Australia for instance. So, meadow and untouched areas in the garden/fields will favour bees, hedgehogs, larks and so on..


It's actually possible to attract wildlife such as beneficial pollinating insects and hedgehogs and amphibians to a garden without growing weeds.  Growing single flowers instead of sterile doubles provides masses of nectar and they're not fussy about whether it comes from imports such as buddleia or home grown weeds.  It's also easy enough to make insect, hedgehog and bat shelters and provide nesting boxes for birds and log piles for insects and amphibians to shelter.

I actually found the "natural" planting at Chelsea did just look weedy and in need of a good strim.  I'd rather have an attractive tapestry of plants with varied flower forms and foliage contrasts.    I don't do exotics as my garden is too cold but I do have plants from Europe, Asia, the Americas and Africa and even a zantedeschia from New Zealand that survives over by the pond and my garden is full of birds, rodents such as field mice as well as larger and less welcome cousins, insects and amphibians and no doubt countless creepy crawlies I never see. 

Hi Obelix

Yes I again agree with what you say. And in fact I have a similar garden/ approach.Especially the 'tapestry' approach. My front garden is yellow and pink themed with grasses, pink lavender, green red hot pokervarious ground cover such as erigeron karavinskensis and ajuga reptans, anddark and yellow foliage

And I didn't see the 'weedy' gardens! It probably doesn't come across on tv! Mind you I leave my dandelions in places- the bees love them and they survive the wet and cold.

Which brings us back to the weather. It has been a shock coming from thr shelter of a London garden- small, shady with some sun and relatively warm to Oxford Sunny but windy and dry and verging on sand.

So, while I get to know what thrives here- irises, papaver orientale,centaurea macropetala, cosmos, but NOT my heleniums(why?), I'll be very tolerant of weeds1 so then I have something for the wildlife and me!



You can see my photos here - but I didn't take photos of the weedy gardens as they neither interested nor excited me.    I saw a baby blackbird in the Korean war and peace garden but there were more insects and birds flitting about in the other gardens.

Good luck with your new garden.  Sounds like it needs truck loads of garden compost. 

I have moved from an acid, clay soil in Harrow to an alkaline but fertile loamy soil in central Belgium and much harder winters which have been deadly these last 4 years.   Bit of a shock to me and a lot of my treasures.

Thank you! I decided to concentrate on the front. And this year I've put some strawberries and beans in the front garden as I think it will be easier to waterand feed.

I found a free source of manure which I think is easier in Oxford ,compared with London!Itmust be hard to find what you want in a new country? Unless you ARE Belgian.

The Korean garden, did it win best in show? I know it won something. I was surprised at the accolade.The politic context seemed out of place in Chelsea.

But having access to land is a political issue, but not for here, not for me.

So changing the subject...I am giving my non weeds a better chance against the weeds by applying Nemaslug  to kill my slugs and snails.

These wedds have had thousands of years to evolve and I guess the closer to the native the pants are,the easier it will be to grow stuff. 

I am going tolook at your photos now ,Obelix and maybe put some up myself!


Its the age-old concept of the right plant in the right place.  To Obelixx - 'exotics' means any plant not native to the UK, not just tropical plants. To Organiclinda, the Korean garden won a gold but best in show was Cleve West's Brewin Dolphin garden.




Obelixx actually thinks exotics are anything a bit wussy about cold temperatures and native is from Europe, given that she lives in Belgium now.

The Korean garden won the RHS president's award for best garden because of the concept and execution but that doesn't make it something you want in your own back yard.  Cleve West won Best Garden from the judges, Diarmuid got Most Creative garden but a silver gilt medal and the People's Choice was Thomas Hoblyn's Arthritis garden.

Ah! a rounder viewof gardening! Its certainly good for my soul. I caught the end of bbcs' coverage suggesting rthat the Korean garden was dedicated to all the lost soldiers?.

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