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  • Writer's pictureLynn Cordall

Were Wolves, Bela Lugosi, Vodka and hedgehogs?

Hello All. A fine collection of obscure and weird things in the heading today. What have they got to do with gardens or gardening? What's it all about? Have I taken to just reading strange books whilst getting battered in the garden? Not quite, no matter how tempting a thought.

Its all to do with my Beautiful Border mini garden that I am showing at Gardeners World Live, August 26-29 this year. Whilst still a student I won through a national competition to show this little patch of (hopefully) paradise, along with 25 or so other people. Its a very little toe dip into the world of show gardens. Tatton next year? Who knows....

The competitions theme was Flower Power. I decided to explore the power of flowers.

We all know about the bees and pollinators and why we need them. But do we really think about the flowers the feed on , and why we need them?

My border aims to show that even in a small space ( I see this as a garden for a first time renter / home owner who has a small yard / balcony space), the power of flowers can provide enclosure and an escape from the busy world of today, taking care of many species in many ways along the way. All the plants I am using just aren't beautiful. They can feed us, heal us, calm us and even kill us. We should let flowers take care of us more. Just like they use to in times past.

So, for fun, here are some of the plants I am going to use and what they can do and be used for. Of course, you can just sit amongst them, relax and listen to the myriad of insects that will be living / feeding there. Or you can dig a bit deeper.

Echinacea Mellow Yellow.

Echinacea's are native to North America and they are named after the Greek word

"echinos", which means hedgehog. Cute, and understandable. Its essential oil is great for treating colds, sores and stings

Aconitum Arendsii

Also known as Wolfsbane or Monkshood, all parts of the plant are poisonous. Mythically is was used to fight off or kill Were wolves. Writers love it too. Going back in time, you'll find it used by Keats, in I Claudius and in Bela Lugosi's Dracula in the 1930's. In the 21st century, Dexter, Merlin and American Horror story have also used it for ghoulish murderous effect.

On a gardening note, if you find Delphiniums impossible die to slugs - I do - grow Aconitum instead. I currently have ones in flower at 2m+ tall!

Santolina Chamaecyparissus

Known as Cotton Lavender, the leaves are used for cooking - but can also be used as a fabric dye, moth repellent and as an essential oil source. The definition of multi tasker -and smells of curry.


A South African native, Agapanthus is considered to be both magical and a medicinal go too. It is use to treat heart disease, paralysis, coughs, colds. The leaves are also used as bandages, as the have anti inflammatory properties.

One of my favourite flowers, and they come to teh party late and last a long time.

Betula jaquemontii - Silver Birch

Known in many parts of the world as the Holy Tree. Oil extracted from its bark was used as an anti inflammatory treatment for arthritis. In Russia they preserve the flowers of the tree in vodka, and drink it for the same use. Mmmm. I think being plastered may lesson arthritis pain? It is also a key ingredient for Oil of Wintergreen. Today, Betulinol, a compound found in the bark, is now being used effectively in trials in the treatment of prostrate cancer. Holy tree indeed.

So by the time we get to the August bank holiday, these, together, with more species, and around 200+ plants in total, hopefully it will all look like this. Come and say hello.

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