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.
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.
Fagus sylvatica is the botanical name for Beech trees. Beech are one of our UK native trees; they can be found across Europe. Fagus sylvatica forms majestic trees that can be used as hedging or as very handsome specimen trees. Although these trees are deciduous, trimmed Fagus sylvatica specimens will retain their leaves throughout the autumn and winter months. However, any hedges or trees that are left untrimmed will drop their leaves the same autumn.
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.
Ilex aquifolium is the commonest holly we have in the UK; plants can be found growing both in the wild and as cultivated, garden plants. This holly species can be used as container plants, for hedging, or grown as specimen trees. Ilex aquifolium is native to the UK (Ilex aquifolium is absent from the Outer Hebrides, the Shetland Isles, and Orkney) but this is also a native plant of West Asia, North Africa, Southern and Western Europe.
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.
Lonicera periclymenum is a gorgeous plant. This is an easy-going climber that’s very eager to grow. Plants confidently cover fences and archways, weaving their magic as they stitch hedgerows together. Lonicera periclymenum is a wild plant of many European countries. With so many people feeling connected to this lovely plant there are likely to be a multitude of common names for Lonicera periclymenum; in the UK it’s often known as Honeysuckle.
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.
Primula vulgaris are low growing, perennials that form basal rosette shaped plants, made up of beautifully textured, wrinkled, obovate leaves. These small plants are generally known as primroses. Primula vulgaris are popular wild flowers; they’re often found growing in gardens, the countryside, and in urban areas across Europe. Primroses are hardy; plants will happily survive temperatures down as low as -20C (-4F), and probably lower.
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.
Centaurea nigra has many common names, including Hardheads, Common Knapweed, and Lesser Knapweed. This hardy perennial can be found growing as a wildflower across Europe. Plants don’t need any special care, making these herbaceous perennials great plants to grow in containers, or as part of low-maintenance gardens, wildflower gardens, meadows or pastures.
This is a great plant for wildlife. In the UK, Centaurea nigra flowers from June until September.
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.