I’ve just embarked on reading Richard Mabey’s book ‘Weeds – How Vagabond Plants Gatecrashed Civilisation and Changed the Way We Think About Nature’. I haven’t got very far with it yet, but I can tell that I’m going to like it. Apparently, many of our most familiar weeds are not indigenous plants, but arrived with our Neolithic ancestors along with the seeds of the crops they brought with them, and so are ultimately from Mesopotamia, the cradle of agriculture. Our garden is full of half-tolerated interlopers which have quietly invaded over several summers. The Bluebells which have colonised one of the beds are, I’m pretty sure, Spanish Bluebells, rather than the native variety, which have become a pest nationally because they are spreading to our woods where they hybridise with the native species, producing a highly fertile offspring which loses some of the characteristics of the native type.

Green Alkanet would, I suspect, happily completely take over our garden if left to get on with it. It’s a species introduced as a herbal long ago, but is now completely naturalised.


Bees in particular seem to love it. I think that this might be an Early Bumblebee…


…which seem to be enormously variable in colouration. Those pollen baskets are very laden!


Columbine is, as far as I know, a genuinely native plant, which has, happily, seeded all over our garden.


The flowers are stunning.


I can’t find this little chap…


…in my field guide, but she/he is an odd looking character.


Rounded Snail (perhaps?)





7 thoughts on “Weeds

    1. beatingthebounds says:

      We do well with weeds. Most of them look alright so we try to be sanguine with that. Very excited this week – a first, solitary flower which on a Wisteria which TBH planted about 7 or 8 years ago. She verbally threatened it with being dug up – seems to have worked!

    1. beatingthebounds says:

      Yes, they can. The native variety is usually purple, but can be pink or even white. Bumblebees like them, but I haven’t noticed honey bees taking an interest. The native kind have five hooked spurs at the back of the flower which contain a nectarine apparently which drips nectar into the tubes. We usually refer to them as aquilegias which I think might be what gardeners call them, from the latin name aquilegia vulgaris. They will self seed and spread through your garden so I hope you like them. I like the purple ones best, but we have a mixture.
      A link: http://wildflowerfinder.org.uk/Flowers/C/Columbine/Columbine.htm

      1. Had another look and I have both pink and purple. The hooked spurs at the back explains why I saw bumbles accessing them from the back today, sneakily bypassing the pollen! Thanks for the info. I shall keep them as the bees like them.

        1. beatingthebounds says:

          They drill through the flower I think I’ve read? Some orchids with long tubes don’t even have any nectar as a reward at the end for questing bees. It’s like a constant game of one-upmanship.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s