When I was first building my garden, my wonderful mother-in-law gave me an envelope of larkspur seeds. I had the hardest time remembering what they were- I’m not sure why the name didn’t stick with me- those, thingies… bird feet thingies…I would think in my head. I finally have them down, and I have them essentially everywhere. Love them: water efficient, good for pollinators, tall, that pretty blue that flowers don’t usually come in. Pretty cottage garden-y stuff, without needing much water.
They are not perennial, that is, the same plant does not come back year after year, like peonies or rhubarb. Instead, they drop their seeds nearby and plant themselves. I help them along by cutting them back and sprinkling their seeds where I want them.
It is a good thing I am not a super control freak, because often “they drop their seeds nearby” means in the path, or along the edge of the bed, or mixed in with the asparagus. I have wide beds, with lots of shrubs which were tiny when I first planted them. Back when my MIL gave me the envelope, the larkspur helped it look like the wide “mixed shrub borders” were something other than wide “expanses of mulch with twigs sticking up.” Now that 8 or 9 years have passed, and the shrubs have grown up, the larkspur can seed itself in the handful of gaps that remain.
To have your own spot of cottage garden-y goodness this summer, don’t wait until someone gives you an envelope of seeds from their yard. Instead, buy a pack, prepare a bed, sprinkle the seeds and water them in. My self-seeded plants are already up, after having spent the winter on the ground, so it is not too early to plant them. The first grown will be soft and ferny, and the flowers will grow to be 2-3 feet tall.
is an initiative by garden writer C.L. Fornari, to encourage people to get out in the sunshine and grow stuff. You should check it out.