This is the journal of my endeavours to grow a range of fruit, veg and flowers from seed, grow organically, and my attempts to create a personal paradise with 1/2 acre of maintained gardens and 1/2 acre wild meadows. Northern Ireland's average daily high temperatures are 18 °C (64 °F) in July and 6 °C (43 °F) in January. Soil type: Clay

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Plants that Take Over

There are many plants in the garden that creep over the years, some slowly, some more rapidly - suppose the speed is often linked to whether the conditions are right for the plant. Some plants even become a bit of a thug as they move through the borders and reduce the chance of other plants.

One of these spreading plants is poached egg plant, Limnanthes douglasii. I introduced it several years ago from a seed pack and it self seeds every year making a great early Summer display. Once it is finished flowering and is looking bad, I pull out the plants; it's not long until they begin to grow again and flower for a 2nd time towards the end of Summer. 

Pretty good value for money from a 50 pence seed pack. However I don't think I'll ever be able to get rid of it as it just won't go away.
Above: Poached egg plant, Limnanthes douglasii attracts bees, hoverflies and insects - spot the pollen stored on the bees back legs!
Here it is with the purple flower bugle which also creeps and spreads throughout the garden. The poached egg plant has self seeded here somehow - a good 20 feet from where the other poached egg plants are thriving.
Above & Below: Another creeping plant, a bit slower moving, is Saxifraga Urbium. It looks good this time of year with all the dainty flowers making a mass display. It is easier to remove from the garden but I have been letting it creep along - although it is blocking access to a bench in the garden.

Suppose with a cottage style garden, I can let plants creep and seed and the garden 'evolve' a bit over time and not worry too much!

Copyright: All words and photos are property of Kelli's Northern Ireland Garden.


  1. I don't mind thugs that are controllable - my bete noire in linaria muralis - toadflax.

  2. The Poached Egg plant looks fabulous en masse like that! It's crocosmia for me, it had run wild in the garden when we took it over. I'm still digging it up three years later.

    1. I agree about crocosmia as well! It happily grows through other plants and shrubs and can be difficult to remove.

  3. I have forget me knots popping up everywhere which I don't mind as I do like them. I am nearly on top of my poached egg plants as mine came up as yellow! I am going to scatter some new seed though.

  4. I sowed poached egg plant seeds for the first time this year. I hope after they've flowered they spread like yours have, they look lovely.

  5. My uninvited guest that overstays its welcome is Golden Feverfew. It must be more than 10 years since I deliberately grew any, but it still keeps popping up. Fortunately the colour is a give-away and makes it easy to identify even when young, and thus remove.

  6. In one part of the garden I am looking for ground cover, so I am planting a variety of sedum; however, in the center garden we are furiously digging out and pulling put vinca minor (periwinkle) and chamomile. The vinca is a true thug. The center garden has a path down the center that I am trying to rediscover. I am also digging out globe thistle in mass. Your pretty little plants look pretty and probably serve a purpose.

  7. The poached egg flowers do look very pretty en masse...I rather like them. However, I have some vinca minor that drives me crazy popping up everywhere you don't want it, like right in the middle of rose bushes!

  8. Your field of 'poached eggs' looks superb,

  9. Amazing! I love it. I'll try to purchase some seed of it.

  10. I've never been successful with poached egg plants in my garden, they just don't like it here. Just goes to show that a plant must be in the right place to do well. I have a perennial sweetpea which is a thug, I try and try to remove it but it's having none of it, it pops up all over the place.