There were loads of entries into the first Wild about Weeds 2020 Photography Competition! Entries were incredibly strong with some amazing combinations of weeds in garden planting and we were blown away by the quality!
A few focussed more on the weed than the photograph composition itself while in some others it was hard to see the weed in the photo and how it contributed to the design, so these lost a few points.
Congratulations to our three winners! Alexandra wins a signed copy of Wild about Weeds plus £30 to spend at an independent nursery of her choice, while Joshua and Stephanie both win £15 to spend at an independent nursery. They and everyone who entered also has a heartfelt thank you for taking part to show that weeds are not weeds but a plant to be grown in gardens like any other.
Winner: Yarrow by Alexandra Noble
Judges comment: this is a perfect example of integrating a plant people think of as a weed into carefully considered planting scheme where the weed itself is one of the stars of the show.
About the photo: Alexandra is a North London-based garden and landscape designer who sent in this beautiful photograph from her Hampton Court RHS-sponsored Health and Wellbeing garden. It features Yarrow. Alexandra says yarrow is “a herb I love for its form, wildlife-attracting qualities and edible young leaves but of course is nightmare for those in pursuit of lawn perfection.”
Runner-up: Ferns by Joshua Johnson
Judge’s comment: on first glance you would be excused for thinking there are more flowers here than there are due the exciting colours of foliage. Using local weedy ferns is a clever way of unifying the garden with the area.
About the photo: Joshua’s relatively new front garden is north facing and battered by sea winds, concentrating more. He says, “The key weed within this planting scheme is Asplenium scolopendrium sheltered here between two hostas. I have used this particular fern throughout the front and back garden as well as in patio pots tying areas together. The wider frond means it tolerates the sea winds better than many other more delicate specimens. While it isn’t a standout plant within this photo it is a workhorse remaining through winter when the hostas and alchemilla have faded away. I live in hope that it may colonise some of the cracks in the brick wall next to it. They do grow locally in a number of the stone walls, so maybe someday.The garden attracts a wide range of wildlife with frogs enjoying the cover and many hoverflies and bees making use of the various flowers”.
Runner-up: Cow Parsley path by Stephanie Commis
Judges comment: we often think of shade as being less floriferous than sunny borders but as Stephanie so ably demonstrates with the use of this roadside weed, shade can be even more beautiful.
About the photo: Stephanie took this photo showing one of her favourite weeds – cow parsley. She says, “It shows my little secret short path (less than 2 meters approx) which you can barely make out because of the cow parsley either side – which now reaches my shoulder (I am 5 ft 7) and you can just see some last bluebells and primroses and lemon balm starting. I am obsessed by this little path at this time of year when the cow parsley is out and walk up and down it for no particular reason many times a day just to feel small in nature and almost hidden by the cow parsley (heavens knows what my neighbours think!) Cow parsley is strong yet delicate ( a fairy weed?) and there is a sense of magic in that little space with the apple blossom ahead of me and if I stand still, I can hear the flutter of the blue tits making their nest in the adjacent tree, assuming Mr Robin can shush for a moment.