Friday, 10 June 2022

Forget-me-not: definitely time to pull them out!

It's that time of year that every professional gardener dreads...

Yes, my gloves, my sleeves - actually, nearly all of me - is/are now covered in small seeds, which adhere with the tenacity of velcro.


Answer, because the lovely Forget-me-not, a staple of English flower beds, has started to finish flowering, if you see what I mean.

Every year, we all go through this: the Client sees only that the Forget-me-not are still flowering, so they won't let us pull them out yet.

"No!" they shriek in horror, pointing to the still-blue flowers - right.

"They are still flowering! Not yet!"

"But, but," I protest, feebly, "They are nearly finished, and, and, if I get them now, you won't have them seeding everywhere..."

"But I LIKE them seeding everywhere!" they thunder back at me.

I sigh.

Every professional gardener knows that once you have Forget-me-not in the beds and borders, you will never be without it, and there really is no need to protect it, or promote it... but still, the Client is always right (well, you know what I mean) so I bravely allow them to live for another week.

The Forget-me-not, not the Client.

Here we are, a week later -  a typical late May/early June (depending on the weather that year) situation: the Forget-me-not are clearly more grey than blue now, so I finally get permission to heave them out.

It's a very simple job: you just take hold of each clump in turn, and firmly pull them out. 

There is no need to dig them out, as they are annuals, and don't have much of a root system: just tug, and out they come.

And in the brown bin they go! Not on the compost, oh no, and why? Yes, well done, top marks, because they are FULL of seeds, and everywhere you put that compost, in a year or so, will immediately sprout a thick layer of Forget-me-not.

And it is possible, believe it or not, to have too much of a good thing! 

Oh, I should also mention the mildew - left.

Forget-me-not are very prone to mildew, not least because they form such dense growth: reduced air flow means that diseases such as mildew can spread rapidly, once it starts.

And of course there is always the risk of the mildew spreading to other plants, so this is another perfectly good reason - in my view - for pulling out the Forget-me-not as soon as they start to look the least bit grey, in flower or in foliage.

And that's why we dread it, even though everyone enjoys seeing a mass of Forget-me-not, it's a classic late spring into early summer flower.

I happily admit that they fill up the bare spaces wonderfully, they are a standard "cottage garden" style plant, they pop up fresh every year (I was about to say "fresh as a daisy" but I think that might be insulting to the Forget-me-not Fairy, if there is one?), but they do seed tremendously generously.

And it is almost impossible to get them off.

 Here is my fleece - right - after vigorously brushing at it. 

Oh dear, still lots of seeds!

And it's not just the gloves and the fleece, it's also my boot-laces, socks, hair, etc,  which means that unless I am prepared to spend twenty minutes with sellotape wrapped around my hand, I am going to be shedding Forget-me-not seeds everywhere I go for the next few days!

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