Nothing could be more delightful than a mass of forget-me-nots (Myosotis) in mid to late spring.
They self-seed readily and do best in semi-shaded conditions, creating an informal atmosphere to your garden, often seeding in gravelled areas. Scatter seeds in May for a showing the following year. Leave to self-seed, and then they can be pulled up if the leaves have gone brown or mildewy. They are prone to mildew, but it is usually not a problem until they are past their best anyway. Sow amongst cowslips for a contrast in colour, under roses to provide spring interest, in long grass or in borders. If you have a pond, consider planting the water forget-me-not Myosotis scorpioides in the shallowest parts.
Other plants with forget-me-not like flowers include:
Brunnera macrophylla, (pictured left), which has heart shaped leaves that make it a good substitute for hostas where slugs are a problem. It has sprays of bright blue forget-me-not like flowers above the leaves.
‘Jack Frost’ (pictured right), has variegated leaves and is often planted. Although it should be planted in semi-shade, ‘Jack Frost’ can tolerate sunnier conditions than the plain leaved version. It provides good ground cover, even in dry shaded conditions, and is more resistant to deers than most perennials.
Omphalodes (pictured left,) are less commonly grown than Brunnera, but, again, sport beautiful forget-me-not like flowers. Omphalodes cappadocica ‘Cherry Ingram’ is a well known cultivar, which has the RHS Award of Garden Merit. Its flowers are slightly darker than forget-me-nots, and it is fully hardy and semi-evergreen. Omphalodes verna is also fully hardy, and makes good ground cover in partial or full shade, but is not evergreen.
Anchusa is another plant with forget-me-not like flowers, though, usually they are slightly darker than forget-me-nots. Anchusa officinals (pictured left), commonly called Alkanet, I wouldn’t choose to plant in a garden, as it self-seeds rapidly, but, unlike forget-me-nots, its borage-like leaves are large and its long tap roots are deep, making it very difficult to get rid of. However, it is good for pollinators.
Self-seeding plants can create a relaxed, informal atmosphere in the garden, and can delight by coming up in unexpected places.
They can also save money by covering the ground without great expense. Other welcome self-seeders include purple toadflax (Linaria purpurea, pictured below left),primroses, Aquilegia, Nigella (Love in a mist, pictured below centre), Centranthus ruber (red valerian, pictured below right), poppies (Papaver), and Alchemilla mollis.
A true blue is a relatively unusual colour in flowers.
Other notable plants with blue flowers, include bluebells (Hyacinthoides non scripta, pictured right),
muscari (grape hyacinths, pictured left), Camassia, Gentians (which require neutral to acid soil), Meconopsis (which requires acid soil), Hydrangea macrophylla when grown in acid soil, Nigella (Love in the Mist), Delphiniums, Echinops (globe thistle, pictured below left), Eryngium (sea holly), speedwell, Ceratostigma (pictured below middle), and Ceanothus (pictured below right).
One of the great joys of gardening, is when nature does its own thing and provides a mass of unplanned forget-me-nots in spring.