Plants for Free

That’s what I like, freebies, plants that don’t cost anything, that can fill an odd space here or there or if you’re doing a new bed, then they can fill the space between the permanent planting for now. They can be disposable, to be replaced later when you have decided on more permanent planting, but in the meantime, enjoy! I am thinking wild snowdrops, primroses, foxgloves, claytonia and forget me nots, these are the plants that like my soil and seed around everywhere with gay abandon and I therefore have plenty to play around with.

This is where a conifer suddenly died a couple of years ago and the space has been frustrating me ever since. I should have photographed it before I started planting!

Last year Derek, the gardener moved a huge Hosta sieboldiana to this space from the front as it was getting squashed by the plants around it and it settled in very well, but I got thinking about what else I could plant there to keep the interest going for longer. Unknown to both of us was a clump of wild double snowdrops that came with it, so this made me think of other snowdrops that could join it.

The large strappy leaves belong to Galanthus Faringdon Double, a large clump of these in the woodland has split into 7 clumps, 4 still in the woodland and 3 came here to be beside the hosta. Also I moved another large clump of single wild snowdrops which I split into 5 clumps to join the others.

In the front I have planted a couple of false oxlips, primroses that have misbehaved with some cowslips! They are tall like cowslips with lots of flowers but with the large flowers of the primrose, rather than the smaller ones of the cowslip.

In front of the false oxlips, at the front of the space, I have planted 5 Claytonia virginica which is seeding everywhere on the rockery, they should be happy here as they like shade. This little plant flowers here from March to December with little white and pink striped flowers.


I seem to have loads of foxglove seedlings on the rockery so 7 came across into the new space.

Forget me nots have gone mad in the front garden and they have seeded prolifically into the gravel drive, 5 came into the back to join all the other seedlings

A plant that I actually bought last year! A dark purple hellebore which is now in the centre.

Not a good photo but it is a very small Camellia Yuletide, another that I bought last year. This is right at the back of the space and I hope eventually that it will hide the water tap that is behind it.

I’m hoping that there will be something in flower all through the year, starting in Nov/Dec with the camellia and Galanthus Faringdon Double, these will then be joined in Jan/Feb with the wild snowdrops and hellebore. I forgot to photograph the 3 pots of narcissus Sailboat that I also planted here! They should flower at this time of year at the same time as the false oxlips and the claytonia which will carry on until the end of the year.The hosta is now showing its noses so it shouldn’t be long before that becomes the main focal point with the forget me nots flowering around it and the foxgloves behind. The hosta leaves should hide all the dying foliage around it, hopefully! The hosta and claytonia should carry on until the autumn when they will finally disappear as winter starts everything all over again.

I have also been replanting a small bed just outside the conservatory. I have just planted 3 Rosa Liverpool Hope, the undergardener was born and bred in Liverpool and very proud of it, these are for him.

While collecting forget me nots from the drive for my previous bit of planting, I collected 17 seedling clumps to plant in between the roses, just as if I could ever forget him!

These will not necessarily be permanent plantings in either area, but at least they should give some interest and stop the weeds growing for a while. I feel my first area will probably be simplified as it is a bit busy, but I will enjoy it until some plants get too big. These new plantings need watering of course and we haven’t had rain down here for a long time now, never satisfied are we! I have more weeding to do on the rockery and then hopefully the planting there will be finished for quite a while.

Have you been able to get out and work in the garden this Easter weekend, I hope so?

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6 Responses to Plants for Free

  1. Pauline, everything looks charming. You always seem to make good use of every inch of your garden and it shows. The roses and forget me nots will be a special display!

    • Pauline says:

      Thanks Susie, but if I didn’t make use of the spaces, the weeds would ! I’m thinking of small blue and purple salvias or blue/purple penstemons in between the roses which are peach coloured, for more permanent planting, but will take my time making that decision.

  2. Denise says:

    I enjoyed your post Pauline and I am busy doing the same thing, it was so useful to see how you are using your plants for free. I am not familiar with Clayonia vinginica which looks absolutely lovely. It should manage here so I must try and get some seeds. Also, very much like the idea of Forget-me-nots around the roses to keep the weeds at bay!

    • Pauline says:

      I’m sure a lot of people consider Caytonia virginica a weed Denise, as it spreads so far and wide. I haven’t noticed any seed pods so far but will certainly look for some for you. I feel that if plants spread far enough they could be a help with my weed problem.

  3. Cathy says:

    That’s such an effective way of filling a space, even if only temporarily, and all these fillers have a proven track record in your garden

    • Pauline says:

      They certainly have proved that they like the soil here Cathy, some of them are seeding about a bit too generously! I can now take my time and decide if I want more permanent planting or maybe let them seed around in their new home.

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