I love walking past front gardens to see what’s growing. Even householders who don’t purport to be gardeners can play host to all sorts of exciting self-seeders, if they’re not too tidy. In mine, ox-eye and perennial daisies have created a fringe along the back and front of my privet hedge, and occasionally a purple daisy – common salsify, appropriately called the Oyster Plant pop up as well, though the verbena bonariensis is fast creating a thicket.
Bright magenta species gladiolus communis appear between crazy paving slabs along most plots in my road, and I’ve begged a few corms to plant in my orchard. I was happy to see that Tom Coward, gardener at the fabulous Gravetye Manor Hotel (one of my favourite gardens – pay a visit and indulge in their afternoon tea) has also dotted them in his meadow planting.
The Whitstable lily is a species iris orientalis, and vigorously sprouts in many gardens here. Again, I spotted a neighbour weeding it out and asked for a bagfull of corms. Like many opportunists, it can get overwhelming in the comfort of a flowerbed, and needs management, like the pretty creeping toadflax that will smother and cover any surface.
The RHS is campaigning for people to not cover their front gardens with hermetically sealed paving, bad for wildlife, water dispersion and ugly. I inherited a gravel garden, and most things grow happily, provided I don’t run them over when I park.
Don’t forget Great Comp’s Hens & Gardens Event on Sunday 21st June.