Not so darling Celandine


The sun has come out for the first day of Spring! And with it the pretty yellow flowers of Lesser Celandine (Ranunculus ficaria). “Oh my darling, oh my darling, oh my darling Celandine…” But wait a minute.

This invasive species may look pretty in woodland, but it has completely taken over in a corner of our garden which has exactly the conditions it likes – slightly shady and slightly moist – in the patch between our west-facing fence and the trampoline and underneath the fig tree.

So this morning, on the Spring Equinox, I headed out to tackle it. Here is a little video I made – please forgive the amateurishness and the fact that the angle changes half way through!

In her book “Wild Flowers”, Sarah Raven writes: “Because it is everywhere, in great numbers, it may be under appreciated. This is a shame because it is friendly, sunny and simple… Lesser Celandine is an invaluable source of pollen and nectar for many insects. It is less popular with gardeners, who tend to hate this plant because it is a romper, spreading quickly in disturbed ground, its tuberous roots breaking off and re-rooting readily.”

It is entirely possible that I have done more harm than good trying to dig it out and that it will simply come back in greater numbers next year. In this little video I show the ‘bulbils’ that are so hard to get rid of.

I have only managed to clear one small patch this morning, including cutting back an overgrown holly, but I still feel a sense of achievement. With so much to do now Spring is here I am just going to take things one step at a time. Hopefully there will come a day in the summer when I look around and think “Yep, this is looking pretty good”, but right now in the middle of March that seems a long way off. Still it is great to be back outside in the sunshine after so much cold weather. Here is today’s final video showing a bit more of the border, ready to be planted up with pulmonaria, snowdrops, periwinkles and astrantia amongst other plants that don’t mind a bit of shade.


4 Comments Add yours

  1. Ali says:

    Your planting plans sound lovely. You’ll win, don’t worry! I had a section of border completely covered with creeping cinquefoil. When I read about how to get rid of it, I got quite disheartened, but I am more or less there. It probably will always need watching, but I can cope with the odd clump.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. janesmudgeegarden says:

    What a good idea to do a video! Good luck with all the clearing. I’m looking forward to seeing your plants in place.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you – my video is very amateurish but it was fun to do!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. tonytomeo says:

    We have a similar species of Ranunculus that is hart to pull out, but does not seem to be invasive. I would like to get rid of it anyway. My colleague likes it, so it stays in a small patch in the landscape where it gets water.

    Liked by 1 person

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