Primula veris is also known as the Cowslip. Primula veris is very pretty perennial that holds a special place in many people’s hearts, reminding us of country walks and the beauty of nature. Primula veris is a commonly seen wildflower throughout Europe – being known and loved by so many – I am certain this lovely plant has many more common names.
Corylus avellana is a wonderful shrub or tree that in the UK is commonly known as hazel. I absolutely adore Corylus avellana, it’s one of my favourite plants; I’d encourage almost anyone to grow this fantastic shrub, tree, or hedge! A native tree of many countries in Europe, Corylus avellana is a superb plant for a wildlife garden or an edible garden.
Fagus sylvatica ‘Pendula’ forms a tree with pendulous branches that stretch outwards and then hang rather decoratively. The boughs grow out from the top of the trunk, they become further outstretched as the tree matures, but even the branches of young plants reach all the way down to the the ground. Every branch is adorned with handsome leaves. Fagus sylvatica ‘Pendula’ is commonly known as the Weeping Beech.
Juniper is also known by its botanical name, Juniperus communis. Juniperus communis is an evergreen conifer with spiky needles. Plants are very hardy and they flourish in exposed and sheltered locations. These plants need a bright and sunny position; Juniperus communis is happy growing in almost any moist but well-drained soil, including stony ground and chalk. When choosing where to plant Juniperus communis, avoid shaded areas and soils that are prone to water-logging.
In the UK, Pinus sylvestris is often known as the Scot’s Pine. However, Pinus sylvestris trees’ native range is extensive, this tree’s majestic kingdom stretches across Northern Europe and further afield, so goodness only knows how many common names this handsome tree has attracted – thank goodness for botanical names, which remain the same – wherever in the world you are.
Yew is also known by its botanical name, Taxus baccata. This is a glorious evergreen that’s versatile and accommodating. Taxus baccata is happy to grow as a specimen tree or a hedge; plants are content to grow naturally as unpruned trees but are equally happy to be pruned and clipped into spheres, pyramids, corkscrew twists, hearts, or whichever shape your heart desires.
The Silver Birch (Betula pendula) is one of our most recognisable UK native trees with its glorious silvery-white bark and dainty green leaves. We’re not the only ones to have an affinity with Betula pendula, this stunning tree is a native plant of many countries in Europe and Northern Asia. Betula pendula is a deciduous tree, its leaves turn from green to a buttery yellow before falling in autumn.
In the UK, Prunus spinosa is usually known by its common name – Blackthorn. I am sure that Prunus spinosa has many common names, as this is a widespread plant that can be found growing in the wild across Europe, Western Asia, and Northern Africa. Prunus spinosa can be grown as a shrub, a hedge, or a tree. These plants are very spiny and they often form thickets.
Myosotis scorpioides alba is also known as the Water Forget-Me-Not. This pretty plant requires continually wet conditions; Myosotis scorpioides alba grows in reliably wet bog gardens, as well as in streams, and ponds. If you have a patio garden and don’t have room for a pond you can still grow Myosotis scorpioides alba by creating a container pond or bog garden .
Ranunculus flammula is an aquatic plant with beautiful shining-yellow, bowl-shaped flowers. This plant’s common name is Lesser Spearwort, but it’s very much like a lovely buttercup to grow in a pond! Ranunculus flammula can be grown in streams, ponds, lakes, or continually wet bog gardens; if you don’t have a pond, you could grow Ranunculus flammula in a container filled with rainwater.
Alliaria petiolata is a commonly found wildflower in Europe, Asia, and parts of Africa. Whenever its foliage is bruised, crushed, or trampled, this plant’s leaves release a scent that’s reminiscent of garlic; as a consequence, in the UK, Alliaria petiolata is often called Garlic Mustard, or Hedge Garlic. Another common name for Alliaria petiolata is Jack-by-the hedge, which reflects one of this plant’s habitats and Alliaria petiolata’s prominence as a plant that lines our hedgerows.
Alpine strawberries or wild strawberries (also known by their botanical name Fragaria vesca) are small, low growing, plants that trail along the ground, spreading via runners; these pretty little plants can grow up to around 15cm (6 inches) tall. I adore alpine strawberries! These dainty little plants are utterly charming, with attractive leaves, delightful white flowers, and the delicious red strawberries they produce.
Swiss Chard (also known by the botanical name Beta vulgaris subsp. cicla var. flavescens) is a magnificent vegetable that brings a touch of its own exquisite beauty to the gardens and allotments where it’s grown. This is another vegetable with an array of common names, it’s also called: Leaf Beet, Chard, Rhubarb Chard, and Rainbow Chard. For ease of reference, I try my best to stick to calling this vegetable Swiss Chard; although I do also call it Chard from time to time – sorry about that.
Corn salad ‘Medallion’ (Valerianella locusta) is a super easy to grow salad plant! This is an annual plant that produces edible green, oval rounded leaves, with a subtle mild flavour.
I’ve grown corn salad ‘Medallion’ from seed in a really shaded position inside my Vegepod. My plants have thrived, despite the fact that they were grown in such challenging growing conditions – in deep shade.
Blackcurrants (Ribes nigrum) are hardy deciduous shrubs that thrive in warm and sunny, sheltered sites. These naturally bushy plants will grow in almost any well-drained soil. Blackcurrants enjoy regular watering throughout the summer months; these fruits will tolerate a wetter soil through the growing season, providing the ground isn’t too wet during the winter months. These productive fruits can be grown in full sunshine or partial shade.
Rhinanthus minor (often called Yellow Rattle because the ripe seeds rattle inside their seed pods) is a hardy annual wildflower with handsome yellow flowers that are held hostage by pumped up, yet slightly flattened, calyxes, each one flanked by a toothed green leaf. Plants grow in meadows, grasslands, and prairies, flowering during the summer moths. This is a widespread species that can be found in many European countries.
Origanum onites is one of my favourite plants; its a pretty little thing with a long flowering period; plants bloom over the summer months. This is a superb plant for a wildlife garden. Origanum onites plants produce an abundance of these sweet, dainty flowers that are adored by bees, butterflies, hoverflies, and moths. Commonly known as marjoram, Origanum onites is a culinary and medicinal herb with aromatic leaves that will enhance a wide variety of culinary dishes.
Echium vulgare is a hardy biennial with hairy stems; plants produce pretty pink buds, which open as sky-blue coloured flowers. This is a superb plant for a wildlife garden, as whilst it’s blooming, Echium vulgare is a veritable bee magnet!
This is a UK native plant that can also be found growing naturally in the wild in other European countries. Echium vulgare thrives in areas that are out in the open and warmed by the sunshine.
I love Blechnum spicant, it’s such a handsome, charming little fern, with its narrow, dark green coloured pinnate fronds. Depending on this fern’s particular stage of growth, Blechnum spicant may form low growing rosettes with the sterile fronds leaning out horizontally, or if the fertile fronds are more predominantly growing, plants will appear as more upright and erect in their habit.
Lychnis flos-cuculi is an utterly charming plant. This hardy, herbaceous perennial, is a UK wild flower, which is commonly known as ‘Ragged Robin’ – a name that references this plant’s star shaped, deeply cut flowers. Ideally suited to growing in a wet, water meadow, a damp pasture, or a bog garden, Lychnis flos-cuculi is the perfect choice of plant to grow alongside a pond or in any soil or area of ground where the soil is always wet and prone to flooding.