Hartley Magazine

All the latest news, hints, tips and advice from our experts

Forget-me-nots can provide a long-lasting display

If you are looking for a plant that will offer great soil coverage for a relatively long period of time, then the forget-me-not could be a fantastic choice. 

Their binomial name is myosotis – and this comes from the Greek word for 'mouse's ear', so named after the shape and soft texture of the plant's leaves. 

Forget-me-not actually refers to a genus of around 50 species – and there is a great deal of variation among the various species that belong to this family. 

Where they are not native, forget-me-nots generally perform well in moist habitats – although they can also thrive in both shaded and sunny areas. This could be worth bearing in mind for greenhouse growers. 

The plants are started from seed and tend to flower without difficulty as soon as all traces of frost have gone after the end of winter. They are also easy to grow, requiring very little maintenance on the part of the gardener. 

Organic gardener and author of The Allotment Keeper's Handbook Jane Perrone recommended attempting to grow the wood forget-me-not – or myosotis sylvatica. In an article for UK national newspaper the Guardian, she explained that they can provide some very attractive soil cover among other plants. 

This particular breed of forget-me-not is native to Europe and is characterised by disc-shaped hairy leaves that bring an intensely blue – or sometimes white – color to the green space when they start to blossom in the spring. 

There are also many cultivars of this species, such as Blue Basket, which grows a little taller than the average forget-me-not and has a much deeper blue hue to its flowers. 

Conversely, Ultramarine is a dwarf version of the plant – although its flowers are an even deeper blue, as suggested by the name. For a different color entirely, Victoria Rose blooms in bright pink. 

Ms Perrone explained that her preferred variety combines many of these varying hues: "Sylva is a mix of pinks and whites, as well as the traditional blue."

"The beauty of forget-me-nots is that they provide a frilly skirt for spring bulbs, filling bare soil with a long-lasting display of flowers from April to June, then fading into the background as summer plants begin to dominate," the expert commented. 

"Forget-me-nots are prolific self-seeders: Good, if you want to increase your stock, but they can become invasive if you don't winkle out seedlings that pop up in the wrong place," Ms Perrone continued.