Tuesday, 25th February 2020 10:56pm

Purple flower in meadow, hills in background

This is the year of the #WildFlower in the #ForestGarden, natives are coming back into fashion, which is good news for co-evolved wildlife. #WildFlowerDay

To celebrate, I am getting big into flowers, in a native wildflower way. Using Benjamin Vogt’s modular matrix design as inspiration, I’ll be creating a UK modular design in a 4.8 metre square. Benjamin’s native plants aren’t my native plants (the resurgence of native localism, hurrah!), so I am cribbing and sowing and learning to make flower equivalents of his choices, and create a modular forest garden in the Welsh Style.

My expectation bar for aesthetic success has been set very low, about ankle height. At best, I’ll get some nice photos of nice flowers. At worst, I’ll bring out the scythe, make a clean cut and start again.

To kick off the learning process, I’m profiling a native plant from a list I compiled courtesy of Lindsey at The Wildflower Nursery in Pembrokeshire. She has a lovely website, full of plants and info.

Today, I give you Betony, Betonica officinalis, previously known as Stachys officinalis. Grows up to 60cm high, a late-appearing globule of purple flowers held up high, beloved by the bumbles. Likes sun or part-shade, happy on poor acidic soil (will do well here then). I have a feeling it could be used as a ground cover?

You can buy Betony from The Wildflower Nursery.

Big patch of purple spiked flowers

Colony of Betony in East Sussex, photo by Patrick Roper on Geograph

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