An online garden centre is selling weeds in response to "a new craze for wildflowers." Alongside the usual array of fruit trees, bamboo plants and passion flowers, Gardeningexpress.co.uk, based in Chelmsford, Essex, are selling wildflowers including dandelion plants at £3.99 and stinging nettles for £7.99.
Wildflowers are great for attracting insects to gardens, with nettles in particular attracting caterpillars, and, with falling numbers of bees and other insects, gardeners appear to be actively encouraging them. The company says that the dandelions and stinging nettles have proven to be so popular that initial supplies have sold out and they are now on pre-order only due to exceptionally high demand.
A statement on the company's website reads: "After many demands from customers, we've now added this selection of wild flowers to our range, some call them weeds, but we don't want to hurt their feelings - after all a weed is only a plant in the wrong place, much like finding a tulip in a salad." It also claims that plants of this type were "all the rage" at this year's Chelsea Flower show.
The website's Chris Bonnet said: "While plants such as dandelions may seem like pests when they crop up in the middle of a lawn, if they are cultivated in a flower bed they can look beautiful and really enhance a garden. Yet, while many gardeners do have an appreciation of the beauty of wildflowers it seems most of us aren't able to proactively cultivate them. So, we agreed to introduce a line this summer and the demand has been astounding. We are already sold out and are having to clear extra space in our nursery so we can grow more."