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Self seeders are a go..!

Date posted: Wednesday 23rd September 2020

Self seeders are a go..!

Let’s hear it for all those self seeders! At the beginning of this year’s growing season, in spring when we were preparing the plot my partner and I had a ‘discussion’ about the large drifts of limnanthes that I was intent on growing in a prime bean location. Eventually, when they flowered profusely and were covered with humming hoverflies he admitted that these self-seeders have their uses! Now, in September, my plot is liberally covered with flowering intruders that provide forage for bees and other pollinating insects.

Not all are nectar providers; I expect many of us have found amaranth popping up in unexpected places: ‘Amaranthus is a cosmopolitan genus of annual or short-lived perennial plants collectively known as amaranths. Some amaranth species are cultivated as leaf vegetables, pseudocereals, and ornamental plants. Most of the Amaranthus species are summer annual weeds and are commonly referred to as pigweeds’. (Wikipedia)

I love it when evening primrose (Oenothera odorata, Oenothera glabra, family: Onagraceae) decides to make the plot it’s home, hoping that it’ll attract in the moths. And the wonderful common names it has: ‘coffee plant; cure-all; fever plant; field primrose; four o’clock; German rampion; large rampion; night willowherb; scabbish; scurvish; wild four o’clock.’ (>plants)

‘The various evening-primrose species flower from June to September. The flowers open in the evening and die within 24 hours. Common evening-primrose flowers are predominately self-pollinated but out-crossing can occur. Seeds are produced in mid-August. Common evening-primrose plants produce an average of 140 capsules each containing 160-180 seeds. Seed numbers per plant range from 25,200 to 118,500. The plants die after setting seed.’ (>weeds)
Interesting that RHS has it under ‘Plants’ while Garden Organic categorises it under ‘Weeds’!

‘More Than Weeds’, ( founded by Sophie Leguil is a group dedicated to celebrating and championing the wild and self-seeded plants that push valiantly up between paving stones, in gutters and among our urbanised concrete environments:
‘Sophie Leguill, who started the project in the UK after working on a similar scheme in France, wants people to embrace a little green on their streets by sharing their pictures on social media tagged #morethanweeds. Sophie and the team will even help identify your findings too. “I want people to realise that there can be a ‘new normal’, with a little bit of green in the streets. It doesn’t mean streets are neglected – it just means managing the weeds in a more nature-friendly way. For example, plants along walls or in tree pits can often be left to grow with no issue for accessibility or road safety. In France, people have also been sowing seeds like poppies or hollyhocks in pavement cracks to make their streets prettier – and it works well.”
She adds: “Obviously, I can’t encourage people to use chalk on pavements, but I am encouraging people to talk to their councils and explain to them why writing plant names with chalk is a free and easy way of educating people, especially children to nature (it also washes away in a few days).” (> News).

My own celebration of these resilient plants is plain to see on the plot, now overtaking the spent beans, floppy tomatoes and trailing squash foliage with their bright colours and ‘we’re here to stay’ attitudes..!