August 5, 2011

The Wild Garden

At the corner of my road and the neighbor's, a small garden has sprung up. In the spring Siberian iris bloom and now, it's double daylilies along with wildflowers. I did not plant either of the garden flowers there; they seeded themselves, perhaps with the help of some birds, and now thrive alongside a culvert. In the fields around my house, alongside the stone walls, garden plants take root and spread.

Some plants, like plume poppy, turned out to be too invasive to be near more sedate flowers, so I dug them up and tossed them behind the barn. Now they are happily growing between brambles and grasses and they put on a dramatic show in their safe new location.

Filipendula rubra, or Queen of the Prairie is an easily naturalized plant in the wet conditions of much of my land. I had originally planted it in my large flower border, but later felt it didn't belong there, so put some near the pond. It has spread by itself from the west to the east of the pond and looks quite beautiful intermingled with grasses. There is also some white Filipendula ulmaria, meadowsweet, growing behind the pink.

I love the gracefully curving flowers of gooseneck loosestrife, but in my flower border, which is quite wet, it runs rampant. How I envy those who have well behaved clumps of this plant in their borders. So, I dug it up and threw it next to the pond where it is flourishing without crowding out floral neighbors.

The herb marjoram has self sown around my house from a small initial planting: it's in the field alongside the garden, in the lawn everywhere, at the edges of the vegetable garden. I love its purple flowers, which dry beautifully for winter bouquets.

This old fashioned plant, Bouncing Bet (Soapwort), was growing among the common daylilies in front of the house when I moved here. It takes care of itself, spreading among other plants with underground rhizomes, and is often classified as a wildflower. I think of it as a blowsy flower in its robust untidiness, but it has a lovely scent and is nice to see this time of year among the drooping daylily leaves.

As the years have passed I find myself more lax about policing the errant plants and flowers around my property. I am trying to dampen my penchant for strict order so that I can enjoy the exuberance of flowers and ferns and "weeds".


  1. Love this. Like you I am becoming more lax about where things want to be in the garden and I so enjoy these unexpected delights.

  2. Thanks, Liz. To be completely honest, some of this letting go is from having less energy to tackle all of it, so I'm trying to enjoy the wilder looking garden.

  3. thank you
    Altoon for all your fab postings, nothing like a fab garden growing free.

  4. Same here, I am trying to get my courage up to let the garden go wild for a year and see what happens, but I'm not there yet.

  5. "It's all too beautiful.."

  6. Gooseneck loosestrife contained?? I don't think so. It grows rampantly under the apple tree here where nothing much else likes to grow. Your 'wild' garden is gorgeous.

  7. thanks Sunny and A. and Lisa.
    and Lisa, I have seen gooseneck loosestrife in a couple of friends' gardens behaving quite well.

  8. I contained gooseneck loosestrife at our old garden where it grew in a small square surrounded on 3 of 4 sides with concrete. That's the only way to contain it — but I sure loved it. I have not seen Bouncing Bet in a long time so thanks for the reminder of its lovely fragrance.