Seen at the Festival of the Tree

...if you would be happy all your life, plant a garden ~ Chinese proverb

Friday, 15 April 2016

GBBD: Brickwork

Self seeded lesser celandine, wild garlic and violets on my patio

I've been tidying up our patio this week, which has given me plenty of opportunity to ponder the self-seeders in the contrasting brickwork.

The yellow plant on the left is lesser celandine (aka Ficaria vernia), which probably harks back to nearly 20 years ago when our garden was a farmer's field, close to a stream. It pops up in a few places in our garden; in the gravel, the lawn, and this one spot on our patio.This plant likes damp ground, so I'm surprised it's found a home in the driest part of the garden.

It's considered by many to be an invasive weed, but like Hillwards said earlier this week, I've not found it to be much of a problem as long as it's left alone (*crosses fingers*), and I like it. Soon it'll melt away and I'll forget it's there until it pops up again early next year.

The wild garlic top left (aka Allium ursinum or ransoms) is my fault as I bought a pot of it, which is still dithering in the side garden holding area whilst I decide where to plant it out. As you can see, its progeny have made the decision for me. This is another notorious self-seeder, so I'm keeping a close eye on it.

On the whole its location is keeping it in check, though some has just appeared in the top terrace bed nearby. I'm using those leaves for cooking - they're delicious wrapped around fresh salmon and grilled or baked. I'm weighing up the potential of having enough to make some yummy wild garlic pesto versus acknowledging that might be a sign it's beginning to get out of hand.

I didn't know until I started this post that the pictured tiny little dog violet is a case of mislabelling. I bought it as Viola labradorica (which hails from the States), but in fact it's a European cousin, Viola riviniana Purpurea Group.

This article - with some great discussion in the comments - from Houzz explains how that may have happened, probably due to the original name becoming fixed in our minds (just like Dicentra spectabilis). My battered copy of the RHS Plant Finder says V. labradorica is misapplied and rightly points me to V. riviniana Purpurea Group.

This plant is another vigorous self-seeder, which I'm definitely having to keep a close eye on. It's gone from its original patio pot to most of the others on there, into the terraced beds, into the side garden and out to the front of the house. It's welcome in most places, but severe editing is most definitely required.

Which self-seeders are welcome in your garden? Are any found in brickwork like mine?

Garden Bloggers Blooms Day is hosted by Carol at May Dreams Gardens.

Further Reading

Other posts on self-seeders at VP Gardens include:

  • Our Wild and Woolly Lawn - mentions some of the self-seeders which have leapt down from the terraced beds
  • Self-sown - another Blooms Day post a few years back which looked at foxgloves
  • Erigeron karvinskianus - another Blooms Day post and welcome brickwork plant (not flowering currently, hence its omission from this post)
  • Garlic mustard - welcome in my garden and kept well in check by using it in salads, but regarded with horror by most of my Fling buddies in Canada last year
  • Snowdrops - a Plant Profiles post showing how my snowdrops are spreading into unexpected places
  • Effortless Patio Salad - a Wordless Wednesday post showing some self-sown mustard
  • Hairy Bittercress: the 30 Day Challenge - what I did to get rid of this notorious self-seeder (it worked!)

I've also found nasturtiums and phacelia only really need to be sown once on the allotment, and there's the odd strawberry plant popping up in the gravel in the side garden. I must feature these sometime. Then two houses ago we were never short of Calendula.

Suggestions for other self-seeders you may also like to try are found in this Telegraph article.


  1. I keep it to viola labradorica! What's in a name? I love this self seeder and its name. Groetjes Hetty

    1. This time Hetty it does make a difference as it's a different plant from 2 different parts of the world, but yes it's pretty, no matter what it's name is :)

  2. After reading this page I wanted to share with you my self seeding story. I volunteer at a community garden in my area, and two years ago I was given a couple of poached egg plants as the garden was over run with them. I planted them on my allotment to attract helpful insects and now I am inundated with them (such a prolific seeder) meanwhile, after some restructuring at the community garden we have no poached egg plants so I am restocking from my allotment. What goes around comes around eh?

    1. One of the reasons why I haven't sown poached egg plant on the allotment Steve - it's been quite enough keeping the nasturtiums and phacelia under control!

  3. Plants do pop up in unexpected places!
    Happy Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day!

  4. We get lavender seedlings on the brick patio.
    Which I harvest gratefully, as we've inherited woody old plants which I am removing one by one.

    1. I get the occasional one here too Diana, but the cutting regime I talk about in the post has reduced them. I guess I'm not allowing my plants to set seed anymore.

  5. Aquilegia pops up everywhere in my garden, but I love it.

    1. Oh yes I forgot those! Same here Margaret - there's one in the patio and several on the patio steps. I've harvested a number of them from the gravel path so I can plant them out in the front side garden.

  6. Self seeding violas are a bit of a nuisance in our garden especially when they populate containers. I don't know whether they are welcome or not but we have lots on cyclamen hederifolium in between paving stones and also aquilegias, hardy geraniums and verbena bonariensis.

    1. I think my verbena hasn't survived the winter, so I'm grateful for the seedlings I've just found in the central patio steps. I'd love it if my cyclamen self seeded like your have.

  7. This year we have Primulas absolutely everywhere, including the brickwork, and all over the lawn. R is carefully mowing round them as he can't bring himself to behead them!

    Sorry not been able to do much more than lurk lately, will try to be in touch again soon ...

    1. That sounds lovely Juliet. I've held back a separate piece on Primulas, perhaps it's time to give it an airing :)


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