Ragwort – The Yellow Peril re: Daily Telegraph Letters -part 1Leave a Comment
Is it a disaster or an essential part of UK flora heritage managed incorrectly?
When we were at the Sandringham Flower Show with our Gold award winning Fen Ben Garden in 2008, the garden included a typical indigenous fenland garden hedge. We grew this hedge in troughs for about a year before the show with a few wild flowers at the base. As this hedge was nurtured, a small rosette of Ragwort appeared – we deliberated for ages over whether to leave it in or not – eventually deciding to be a bit controversial and leave it. Our reason – this garden was supposed to be as true to fen life as possible and Ragwort whether we like it or not is a typical Fenland plant.
In 2009 we used the same hedge for our Fenland Alchemist garden at Chelsea Flower Show – the planting in this garden was also to truthfully represent Fen life but at the same time was inspired by the principles of Alchemy and included plants that have been used in plant alchemy for centuries. This time we made sure the Ragwort was not included. I wanted to keep it in but our designer, Jane felt it would be too controversial for Chelsea so in the end the Ragwort was disposed of. The yellow you see in the picture below is Woad – an ancient plant used by the Iceni tribe.
It is a pity that such a pretty little plant can cause such devastation as I have witnessed first hand when I was pushed to the brink of financial ruin as a sheep farmer suffering masssive losses due to Ragwort poisoning which I will tell you more about in the next blog….