Last year I planted quite a few forget-me-nots in the garden (myosotis – meaning mouse ears). Myosotis is hardly the most fashionable of plants and has an image of being either a ‘granny’s favourite’ or a bit of a weed. But it is really rather remarkable for being such a good mixer. It is equally at home in the most formal of gardens as an underplanting for tulips (as I did last year) or in semi-shade in informal areas or even where it can seed around and insinuate itself among more illustrious neighbours and bring some cohesion, as well as simple charm, to a spotty or sophisticated planting.
I know that it can look nasty as flowering fades if it has mildew and I know that it can seed around profusely but the seedlings are pretty distinctive and not at all difficult to pull up.
Last year, spare and spindly plants were put in a piece of ground that I laughingly call the wild garden. It is nothing of the sort but it is just an area about 3m square under an old apple tree. Growing veg here is out of the question and it is where any spare plants are randomly planted whether odd bulbs or bedding plants and they take their chances. The idea is that happenstance may produce a few nice combinations, it means I do not have to compost the spare plants and it solves the problem of what to plant under the apple tree. I also like to think that the mix of flowers is attractive to bees.
So the spare myosotis went in here and they self seeded and because I originally grew not only blue but pink and white varieties there is a mix of all three plus there are some seedlings that are doing the colour-changing trick of the wild plant, starting pink and ageing to blue. I know this will result in a right mixture with no clear colours but it does not really matter here.
So far, with a few pansies and wallflowers, the myosotis has the starring role, but the poached egg plant is just starting to bloom and soon there will be sweet Williams too. It is such a simple plant but myosotis really is a charmer. And as long as you sow seeds by July you can have a wonderful display yourself next year.