Weeds or not?

6 Aug

The first is Nicandra physolodes ‘Violacea’. It belongs to the solanaceae family, a family of plants full of hidden mysteries. Either it arrived by accident from Special Plants this year, or was in with some older seeds from Chiltern Seeds which I scattered about this spring, or was dispersed by birds, as it is often found in bird seed mixtures. At first I found it coarse looking. Age hasn’t made the form of the plant much less dumpy as a whole. It looks out of place, too lumpen amongst the grasses, poppies and succulents in the gravel bed. But it does have a lot going for it and i’ll be keeping seed to sow in a different bed next year. It looks a spotlessly healthy deep green, from a distance. Up close, it has fleeting lilac flowers that set off the racy black colouration of the stems and calyxes. Oh, that ink-stained calyx, such poise in the way it curves around the hidden fruit inside. The bees give added entertainment. While I was taking photographs, one fell out of the flower rear end first and on its back.

The other is more troublesome. It is of the Fabaceae family, is a woody perennial, has compound, chartreuse coloured leaves with ovate leaflets and thorns at the axils. I find it attractive. In fact, when we moved in it stood out to me as perhaps the only thing in the garden worth keeping. Trouble is, it suckers like a beast. A ravening beast, complete with taproots. It might be Robinia pseudoacacia, but I can’t see why the previous owner would’ve planted one of those. I’m minded to let one shoot grow and attempt to suppress the others. That way I might end up with an attractive tree less prone to suckering, with flowers which will aid with identification, and when I get tired of it I can chop it down and – if it is false acacia – make some super tough rot resistant fence posts out of it.

I just removed dozens of suckers like these:

The lone survivor:

The stylish thorns:


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