Right plants, just in the wrong place

The oriental poppy is persistent in its spread. Picture by Tom Pattinson.
The oriental poppy is persistent in its spread. Picture by Tom Pattinson.

The definition of a weed is debatable.

The Concise Oxford Dictionary version – “wild herb growing where it is not wanted” – comes close. But in this garden any vigorous cultivated plant springing up in a spot where it’s unwelcome is deemed a weed.

Comfrey (Symphytum caucasicum) makes quite a statement in a mixed border, with tall growth and a mass of blue flowers. However, it reproduces freely from seed and the slightest piece of root left in the ground will regenerate.

Oriental poppies (Papaver orientale) and chives (Allium schoenoprasum) behave in similar fashion.

Ladies’ bonnets and foxgloves are in full bloom and so attractive, and it’s not uncommon to see them on offer. But if we did not remain vigilant they’d overrun the beds and borders.

When the former stray out of bounds, remember that they have a tap root, so hoeing or pulling by hand is not enough. Dig them up with a spade.

Despite continually removing wayward foxgloves, there are always plenty.

It’s a case of right plant, wrong place!