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With an estimated 27 million British gardeners getting their hands dirty every week, garden centres, plant nurseries and Gardeners’ World have all seen a boom in popularity since the first lockdown of the pandemic. But as more of the public develop green fingers, the potential for costly mistakes also increases.
Some can lead to devastating consequences, with non-native invasive species able to take over your garden should they have a chance. During this week’s Gardeners’ World, presenter and author Monty Don had a warning for budding horticulturists.
The advice came after viewers were treated to a glimpse into the garden of Yasu in Itoshima, Japan. After a friend in the UK told him how beautiful bluebells looked in an English garden, Yasu decided to create his own British greenspace called Petit English Garden.
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Yasu said: “I’ve always wanted to visit the UK in spring, but I’ve never had the chance”. Instead, Yasu decided to grow a group of bluebells in his garden. Annually, he selects the larger bulbs from the planter and plants them in plastic pots.
The end result has been a stunning bluebell border, which carpets the floor. However, shortly after the film, Monty delivered his warning. He said: “Bluebells are wonderful,” but you must make sure you “do it with English bluebells and not Spanish”.
“The English bluebell, which hangs just down on one side, and we think of as a carpet in woodland, is not too invasive. Whereas, the Spanish bluebell, which hangs on both sides and is bigger and generally more robust, is truly, truly invasive,” he warned.
“Once you get that into a border, it’s very difficult to get it out,” he explained. Often sold under the Latin name Hyacinthoides hispanica, the Spanish bluebell is therefore to be avoided. Instead, choose the English or British bluebell, which has the botanical name Hyacinthoides non-scripta.
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