Now I am a fan of the move towards the informal and naturalistic approach to gardening but wonder if cow parsley is too much? Perhaps it is my upbringing but cow parsley was always seen as a bit of a devil weed and one which set off mum’s hay fever and to be avoided at all costs. Don’t get me wrong I have a bit of a secret liking of the black stemmed form, but the regular one?
The move to the naturalistic has been really interesting to watch, and one which seems to have accelerated over the last 18 months with all the superb planting around all the Olympic sites. This seems to have cemented the move towards pollinator/wildlife friendly planning as oppose to planting which is solely British natives and has been advocated for a long time. I have always found this ‘all or nothing’ approach a bit too much as I do love British wildflowers, but they do tend to peak at about now and then look decline. The new work around finding nectar rich plants which work for local wildlife through the year and also extend the period of interest for wildflower meadows is fabulous with good use of American prairie plants and also things like Cosmos which pick up when others begin to flag. I love this style of planting as it looks fabulous and is good for wildlife....it is not ‘wrong’ as it isn't just British natives!
Which brings us back to Cow Parsley.....nice in the countryside, but in gardens? Is this part of a wider trend for a garden to be just a piece of managed wilderness? Should I get over it and go out and plant lots immediately? A plant for the front of the border or compost heap?