Newest Review: ... strong they seem to glow in the right light. Call me sentimentally soppy, but I don't mind. I've fallen in love with Forget Me Nots, even... more
Fabulous little flowers
Forget Me Not
Member Name: Stewwydablue
Forget Me Not
Advantages: Very easy to grow and perennial
Disadvantages: Can spread if left unchecked
I consider my garden to be a place for food production, and don't really put "the look" of the place high on my list of priorities. If I want to give my eyes a sensual feast, I'll do a Google images search for Lily Allen. However, I may wear the wellies at home but I certainly don't wear the trousers so I have to relent and provide splashes of colour amongst the predominantly green fruit and veg in the form of flowers to appease Mrs Dablue, who, in her own words "doesn't want to look outside the back door and see nothing but cabbages - it's like living in a flaming allotment" (but is quite happy to eat those cabbages!).
With Forget Me Nots, I've found a plant that I don't just tolerate for the sake of a quiet life, but actually cherish and am very protective about and emotionally attached to. I even talk to them sometimes when I'm sure that the neighbours aren't outside in their back gardens too. You might be wondering if Dablue has gone soft and come over all Prince Charles-ish. The special tub of Forget Me Nots that I have in the back yard came from three plants that I lifted from my Grandad's garden on the day his ashes were buried with my Grandma in Worsley, Manchester. It was the last time I've ever been to his house; we all went round as a family after the ceremony to say goodbye to the house where my Grandma and Grandad had lovingly kept all sorts of plants in their front and rear gardens. I carefully pulled out three of the very aptly named Forget Me Nots from one of the front borders, placed them in a carrier bag with a splash of water and drove home. With crossed fingers, I planted them straight out, and for the next week or so was on pins as I watched for signs that they would take and continue to grow.
They did survive, and now thanks to their prolific self seeding, (I'll explain later on about this) three years later I have about twenty plants crammed into the one large pot that reward me with a living memory of my Grandparents every spring and sometimes autumn too in the form of a compact riot of delicate miniature stumps of a pastel blue so strong they seem to glow in the right light. Call me sentimentally soppy, but I don't mind. I've fallen in love with Forget Me Nots, even though they're not as useful as cabbages and strawberries are!
Latin name Myosotis sylvatica, Forget Me Nots (FMNs) are in the Boraginaceae family, along with borage and comfrey, although to my knowledge you can't eat FMNs like you can with borage and comfrey. The latin name Myosotis comes from a greek phrase meaning mouse's ear - if you look at the leaves you will see why, they are even covered in small hairs! The sylvatica type is commonly known as the "wood FMN" and is the most common type of FMN found in the UK, although about 50 other types are known to exist around the world.
Growing your own
You can grow from seed, or propagate by dividing existing clumps of plants, as I did from my Grandparents' garden. To grow from seed, sow thinly in shallow drills after the frosts have passed and cover with a couple of millimetres of soil. They prefer well draining rich compost and can tolerate both full sun and some shade. You're not likely to get flowers in the first year of their growth, but your reward will come the next year by the tiny flowers that will thank you for your patience. FMNs are perennial, meaning that they will return year after year. We've had some pretty hard frosts the last few years and my FMNs haven't been affected; I still get a flush of the gorgeous little blue flowers the next spring.
To propagate by the division of existing clumps, carefully lift some already established plants from a kind hearted neighbour and ease the roots apart, then dig holes that are big enough to allow the base of the plant to sit at the same level it was at in its previous position. Fill this hole with water, let that soak away, then fill it again and pop the plant into it, gently firming it down into its new position.
They are champion self seeders too - that's how my plants have grown from the initial three I lifted from my Grandparents' garden to a family of about twenty. For those that don't know, self seeding is when the flowers on the plant have died and turned into seeds - these seeds drop off onto the soil and if the conditions are right will germinate and grow into new plants. For this reason, you may want to be selective about where you plant them or after a few years they will take over any unused space and possibly crowd out other plants - I restrict the spread of mine by keeping them in just the one large pot.
I help the self seeding process along by waiting until the seed pods have formed on the stalks then I gently brush my hand through them to release the seeds onto the surrounding soil - my patch of FMNs has responded very well to this treatment. If you don't want the plants to self seed, then remove or "dead head" the flowers as they start to die off before they turn into seed pods. Don't throw any dead heads with seeds in them onto your compost heap though as you'll spread them all round your garden!
Established plants (more than one year old) will flower all the way through spring, although if we have mild autumns they will produce a second flush of flowers for you to enjoy in mid September to October.
Diseases / Pests
There are no specific diseases or pests that target FMNs, but as they are a living thing they will attract some insects and their larvae as a potential food source - things like greenfly, but these are easily dealt with. Attract ladybirds to your garden by building a "hotel" out of a bundle of thin twigs tightly bound together and they will happily munch their way through hundreds of greenfly for you. Other generic problems like rot are easily avoided by not overwatering your plants and having a good amount of grit in the soil to allow for drainage.
Uses for Forget Me Nots
They have a few different sentiments attached to them, and are gratefully received by most you'll give them to. They make beautiful little posies for a loved one before a period of separation (I spend long amounts of time away from home with work and find that they convey their message, "Forget Me Not" quite well on those occasions when I've popped outside and picked some for my wife and daughters) and, in the way that I have an emotional attachment to them, they can be used to remember special people who are no longer with us. If you're not into picking the flowering stalks to make posies with though, just leave them be and enjoy their beauty in your garden.
A very attractive, delicately small but huge in its appeal plant that will thrive in most gardens, FMNs are very easy to maintain and if given the space, will spread their blue flowers throughout your garden. I know they're only a plant, but I'm very fond of mine because of their connection to my Grandparents and hope that someone else after reading this review will "discover" FMNs and get the same joy from theirs as I do from mine. Right, I've been far too emotionally revealing in this review, I'm going to go and write a nasty one now that scathes something made by Lush, like a fruity fizzing bath hand grenade, or whatever it is they're called. Gggrrrrrr. Enjoy your garden.
Summary: Gorgeous little clumps of blue flowers
More reviews in the field of Plant
- I'm not sure if it 'works' but it seems to be working
- Insert bad pun about being hot stuff
- Not a review about Graeme Taylor.
- A natural treatment to defend against colds
- Super sexy sweet strawberries.
- Less Colds With Echinacea
- Dress your garden in Granny's Bonnets
- Nature's Valium....
- There's nothing so sweet as a freshly dug and lightly boiled new potato