Going to seed

Humans must be closer to insects than we think as we are also attracted to the colour, the perfume and even the shape of flowers. We may not directly eat the nectar or gather the pollen, but the evolutionary tricks that plants play on pollinating insects work equally well on us, as we plant , water and nurture our prime garden flowers.

As the countryside all over the world becomes increasingly mechanized and there is less and less space for wild flowers, we are very slowly waking up to the fact that gardens need to make space for wild flowers and for garden flowers to feed the bees and the butterflies that find few homes in the fields.

Luckily this is no hardship as the flowers that the bees like, we like too and caring for them results in a beautiful garden of visual and olfactory delights.

I plant Honesty ( well, it plants itself really!) and the tall purple flowers are the first things to bloom after the snow drops. It is an incredibly important source of nectar and it is covered in bees looking for their first meal as soon as the sunshines for a few moments.

The temptation to cut it down when the flowers are over is great, but I resist.

Each purple flower slowly turns into a flat brown seed pod. Not very appealing you may think, but honesty has a Latin name : lunilaria and this comes from the beautiful silver lining of the seed case that glimmers like the moon. When completely brown you can spend a peaceful hour peeling off the dull cases to reveal the beauty underneath and the result can be used as a display indoors that will last for years.
Oh and while you are doing it, you will be shedding the honesty seeds around the garden that will germinate and start the next green plant to flower in the spring – so going to seed has its virtues too!

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