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Country diary: where the wildflowers grow weird and wonderful

Allendale, Northumberland: Like many gardeners through the years, I am drawn to unusual colours and double formsPlanted across a large area with hardly any paths, the wild and the cultivated flow together in my garden. In it, I grow 80 species of wildflowers, with many such as pignut, sanicle and harebell found just outside the boundary walls. The leaves and roots of these wildlings provide food for the larval stages of insects, in particular the moths that I study by using a light trap once a week. Their flowers feed the adults and the garden is rich with bees, butterflies, beetles, flies and other invertebrates.Adding to these wild species are some quirky variations that I enjoy for their sometimes weird shapes. Unusual colours and double forms have been sought-after for centuries, often occurring naturally and spotted by keen gardeners. It was in an Oxfordshire lane 40 years ago that the Northumberland botanist John Richards, when leading a group looking at dandelions, noticed a newly emerged cow parsley with deep purple foliage. Now Anthriscus sylvestris 'Raven's wing' is a favourite at the Chelsea flower show and grown worldwide. Continue reading...
Zdroj: The Guardian

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