Sweet Woodruff – Plant with care!

This week I have been asked to plant up a small front garden in Wimbledon – the client has already had the planting plan done by another designer, and would simply like me to carry out the planting.

This is a great little job for me – I’ll source the plants, maybe substituting a few here and there according to availability, and I will also use my discretion as to what I think is suitable, while sticking as faithfully to the plan as possible.

There is one plant on this plan that I won’t be planting however….

The scheme is in a cottage garden style, using many native plants. Hence the choice of the pretty native woodland plant Asperula odorata (Sweet woodruff). It is low-growing, hardy, has attractive foliage and fragrant white flowers in spring. Sounds great! Until it is planted in a border with other small plants which in a short time it will completely smother! Sweet woodruff is very invasive, difficult to remove, and in my experience only suitable for a large woodland area where it can run wild, or in a restricted space where it may be difficult to grow anything else.  Dan Pearson used it to great effect in a ‘green’ garden, where it grew beautifully under a sculpted wooden bench. It obviously didn’t mind the dry shade there.

Apparently when dried, sweet woodruff has the odour of spring grass, its perfume being a major improvement on mothballs, as when kept amongst clothes, it affords some protection against insects.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *