The Chatham Islands forget-me-not surrounded by
self-sown blue and white field forget-me-nots.
I was weeding the flowerbeds yesterday, and the sticky seed capsules of the common field forget-me-not, Mysotis arvensis, kept attaching themselves to the backs of my gardening gloves and the tail of my T-shirt. I am very partial to forget-me-nots because they make a very pretty groundcover in spring, one which does not need to be planted as they sow themselves freely. If they sow themselves where they are not wanted they are very easily weeded out, even when fully grown. The seeding plants can then be left to rot down wherever you want forget-me-nots next year. If only all plants were so obliging!
The standard forget-me-not colour of light blue blends with everything, and the white version makes a lovely frothy neutral base from which bright daffodils or tulips can emerge. Myosotis species belong to the Boraginaceae family, which has lots of other lovely forget-me-not like flowers, including the perennials Brunnera macrophylla (aka Siberian bugloss) and Omphalodes cappadocica (aka navel wort or navel seed). These dainty plants are happy in semi-shade (under deciduous trees is good). Both like a reasonably moist soil, but Omphalodes can tolerate more dryness than Brunnera. In favourable conditions they will naturalise and spread by themselves. Gardeners can help this happen by dividing the clumping plants and replanting the divisions where required.
'Jack Frost', and lily-of-the-valley.
These northern hemisphere forget-me-nots are lovely but modest plants, whereas the Chatham Island forget-me-not, Myosotidium hortensia, is a big, bold plant of an intense blue which adds some drama to the spring garden. It likes a mild, moist climate. It is found near the beach in nature, and loves seaweed-based fertilisers. It has big, shiny leaves, which look attractive when the plant is not flowering. I think a combination of this forget-me-not and the field forget-me-nots is a winner – but you look at the picture above and be the judge.