Thursday 9 April 2015


Like many gardeners, I am always keen to get more plants for free. Therefore I like plants that self-propagate easily - within reason! Not all prolific self-propagators are welcome. For instance, I still keep finding little seedlings of Golden Feverfew, which I have not consciously grown in my garden for at least 10 years.

This is a Pulmonaria (Lungwort) growing at the base of my Cherry tree. It arrived here of its own volition, and is evidently planning to stay.

And not just to stay, but also to colonise! Just look at the number of little seedlings in the shingle surrounding it:

Much as I like Pulmonaria, most of those will have to go!

The Japanese Anemone "September Charm" is equally bent on world domination:

It spreads rapidly via underground roots, sending up a new plantlet every so often, just like the Strawberry:

All along the edge of the border there are little Anemone plants. I have pulled up any that have made it out into the shingle. Enough is enough!

Just near the Anemone is my clump of Wild Garlic, which is also enthusiastic - perhaps TOO enthusiastic!

It's reasonably under control at present, but I have already noticed bits of it appearing at the other side of the garden. Presumably seeds get distributed by the wind...

This next plant however is one which I am actively encouraging to propagate. It is the Snakeshead Fritillary.

It grows easily from seed, and the tall flower-stems assist in spreading the seed afar. Look at this little line of Fritillary seedlings next to the border edging:

The flowers are only at the bud stage right now, but you can already see their mottled colours beginning to emerge.

Here's another vigorous self-seeder for you - the Red-veined Sorrel:

It looks pretty (as well as being edible), but once you introduce it into your garden it will be with you for ever!


  1. We had to pull the pulmonaria out of our garden. It didn't self seed, but it did get mildew and looked terrible all summer long. Our anemone wants to take over the world too. I have to control it every spring. I haven't gotten to that chore yet. For me the biggest self seeders are dill, cilantro, and johnny-jump-ups. I have a feeling now that I've started to grow fennel, that will make the list too.

  2. Lemon balm and tomatillo are two big pests in the community garden. The lemon balm flowers aren't very obvious so they don't get deadheaded and the seed gets around. The tomatillos drop and not all get picked up. There are enough volunteers around in the spring there is no need to start seed indoors.

  3. It's fennel & sweet cicely which seed here & borage come to think of it!

  4. The things I would like to spread, such as snakeshead fritillary and lily of the valley, just won't in my garden. The plants I have seem happy enough and come back year after year but they don't increase in numbers. I lost my pulmonaria, I don't think it was a very hardy variety. Nasturtiums pop up all over the place in my garden, and I couldn't get rid of borage or mint on my old allotment plot.

  5. I loved this post. Dear little pulmonaria gets such a bad rap! I have one that is a most electrifying blue with plain green leaves, slowly spreading. But I love it where it is, contained. BTW, really like your stone rope edging.

  6. Plague proportions of slugs and snails put an end to just about anything self-sown in my tiny garden, except pulmonaria and aquilegia which have the ability to regrow from the root faster than the pests eat the top. Only days ago I was admiring the self-seeded tarragon only to find it nipped off at ground level the following morning, so frustrating. Woody shrubs are just about the only long term survivors.

  7. Having a relatively new garden, I don't really have any issues with self-seeding yet...although I did grow borage last year and by early fall, I already had a ton of babies popping up in the beds.

  8. Some plants we can't grow no matter how hard we try, some we can't get rid of, it's a gardeners dilemma, I've never had Pulmonaria self seed, least they are easy to remove :)

  9. Sometimes you can have too much of a good thing can't you?

  10. Ooh, lovely snakes head fritillary, We did plant one lonely individual a few years back when we first put in the pond but it didn't last long. I'd also like wild garlic sometime.
    In our garden we get lots of forget-me-nots, feverfew, red veined sorrel and garlic mustard, which are all fine as they're easy enough to pull out or transplant. My pains are creeping buttercup (pretty, but invasive and can be hard to fork out) and alkanet (nice flowers for insects but has hairs that stick in your skin and irritate, plus deep roots) I usually pull them out as best as possible and use as a mulch round the veggies.


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