Wall flowers to encourage & avoid

There is vegetation that gives life and beauty and some which strikes at a waller’s heart, that will tear down even a well built wall over time, working with wind, rain and frost. This is the Vegetation Blacklist of Walls.

Red Valerian – #1 garden wall destroyer
Ivy – #3 destroyer of walls
Bramble and tree roots – #2 destroyer of country walls

A lot of wallers see a clean wall, unsullied by plants of any kind, tightly fitting stones squeezing out all life, as a thing of beauty. However to me this is a dead wall and strikes against the philosophy of the ecologically friendly living wall.

The living wall encourages growth of ‘wall friendly’ plants, with nooks for insects to thrive, for animals to hide and birds to nest. Robins, gold crests, wrens even varieties of tit will nest in a well constructed living wall. Masonry and solitary bees should be welcome. Frogs, toads, newts and lizards love to hibernate in a wall.

Froglet – photo creds to Gail Cobbold

In my book all should be welcome and the waller should allow shared space for them when constructing a wall. Wall friendly plants include:

Babies Tears
A great asset when cover is needed – Babies Tears will grow in lovely green cushions between the cracks. A perennial, once established Babies Tears will run and run! Likes it damp and tolerates shade well. This is self propagating.
Babies Tears Picture creds Stock image
Sometimes confused with the hair bell is common in gardens all over Cardiff and South Wales. It is a pretty flower, self propagating and with a light root system. It likes some moisture but will tolerate dry periods, sometimes looking wilted but usually recovering with a rain or some water.
Campanula Picture creds Stock image
Some say chamomile is sweet smelling – some cloying. A pretty simple daisy-like flower on a succulent green foliage can be grown from seed or by splitting existing plants. Plant beside the wall as although very hardy once established it does need a soil base. Excellent for a Clawdd – sunny.
Chamomile Picture creds Stock image
Creeping thyme – thymes
Creeping thyme is a small low growing perrenial which once established will provide a pretty pink flowered scented mat across the top of a wall, between copers. In my experience it needs a sunny position to establish and quite likes it hot. West Wales and coastal areas work well although we have them in our Cardiff Garden
Creeping thyme Picture creds Library A Hyd
Hardy Houseleeks
Houseleeks sound Welsh somehow – An attractive succulent is very hardy and once established will produce a matt of rose shaped leaves. Sometimes known as hens and chicks the Hens may be up to a couple of inches across while the chicks are as little as half and inch
Houseleek – Hen and Chicks Stock library pic
A fern-like plant propogated by spores common across South Wales, this makes a pretty, rather dainty addition to the cracks in a shady wall. Willtolerate dry conditions.
Spleenwort Stock picture
Various sedums grow well in walls being particularly tolerant of dry and hot. Perennial and attractive to bees some care should be taken when acquiring a particular type as they can be quite tall, up to a foot in height.
Sedum Stock picture
Thrifts also known as Sea Pinks are often seen by the sea with pretty clover-like flowers and delicate spiky leaves. Sold for rock gardens, there are lots of varieties.
Thrifts – sea pink Stock picture
Mosses and Lichens
Many types of mosses love a shady wall and can make a really beautiful addition. Mosses are perennial and will gradually cover a wall. Mosses enjoy damp but will also survive dry periods. Ask a friend or a friendly farmer if you can have a little piece of moss from a wall and then just push it into a shady spot.
Cwmogwr Forest Wall, area of special scientific interest – mosses and lichens

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