For a small country we are quite blessed by the range of different wildflowers that call our Island home. The range of different ecosystems and climates over the length of the country has allowed for a real mix of plant species to grow and evolve here. Wildflowers are certainly the best plants of Irish gardeners as they are acclimatised and content to grow in our soil in our weather. This means the maintenance and care of wildflowers is less than it is for many other non-native garden plants.
Some of the real gems that you may encounter whilst strolling across our lands include the following
Wood anemone: Found growing in woodlands and on the edges of woodlands. These Spring flowering herbaceous perennials have a delicate white flower. Unlike the more common garden Anemone these only reach a height of 5 to 10cm. They are a great accompaniment to ferns, bluebells and arums in a woodland setting
Bluebells: Here is one that you cannot miss. The Bluebell Hyacinthoides NonScripta is a native of Ireland and as we well know, is in abundance in woodlands across the land. Non Scripta is a good choice of wildflower to grow as it is not invasive. Flowering from April to early May Bluebells form a blanket of blue in shady sites and woodlands
Marsh Cinqefoil: As the name suggests this cinquefoil is happiest in wet conditions. But what makes it really stand out from other potentials is its deep red / violet foliage colour. They are common in wetland areas and along the sides of ponds. Flowering in July each year, plant final height- 50cm
The Spotted Orchid: It more like something out of the tropics but Dactylorhiza maculate is a native wildflower of Ireland. To truly appreciate these orchids you need to get up close and personal. The detail is in the fine petals which are white it pink speckles. The individual florets have the distinct orchid shape with a dropping lower petal. To see the spotted heath Orchid you should go to the Burren area, however they can also be seen in acidic grasslands across Ireland
Devils Bit Scabious: Once a common plant in our countryside, but is now less occurring due to the increased use of fertilisers on agricultural land. A great additional to any wildflower meadow thanks to its wildlife attracting capacity, prominent flower and long flowering period. Devils bit flowers from July through to mid-Autumn and the first frosts. Spherical purple flowers appear and tall stalks reaching a height of 4ft. You can find Devil Bit wildflowers growing on boggy land and low fertility grassland
Irish Saxifrage: A Saxifrage had to make the list because these certainly stand for everything a native flower should be: Hardy, Relentless, opportunistic and to be found in the most remote of places. This saxifrage can make a home of the smallest cracks in a rock, found growing on stony soils of the Aran Islands and clinging to the rock face of our Atlantic cliff faces it certainly is a lonely life for the saxifrage. But they are hardy and when the time is right they burst into colour when a carpet of delicate white flowers with yellow centres covers them from May to July. An excellent choice for rockeries and crevices in walls