Space Invaders May 29 2013

My neighbour in Hackney had an inspirational formal garden of box hedging, lavender and Alchemilla mollis with a backdrop of white stemmed birches.

Our garden was a little less formal but we shared the foxgloves that would appear in cracks in the paving or in the shade beneath the birch trees. You'd often find yourself viewing the garden through their tall spires.

In our Norfolk garden, red poppies, teasels and perhaps inadvisably planted bronze fennel were the random additions to our gardening efforts.

Here in Edinburgh it's the Welsh poppy that's a very welcome invader, giving the garden its character, finding a home in just about every gap in brickwork edging, beds and pathways, even growing in the stone walls. It's easily weeded out and the fun is in keeping a balance.

Sadly, despite its clear blue flowers which perfectly compliment the yellow and orange of the poppies, the alkanet isn't so welcome. Once its tap roots are have taken hold it's a devil to pull out.