A small group of knowledgeable garden visitors sat with me one morning on the lawn in front of the outbuilding drinking tea after a guided walk around the garden. 'One of your problems,' a colleague had told me some time before, 'is that you have no shame'. She was referring to the fact that I was quite prepared to admit when I didn't know the answer to a question about the garden or a plant. At this moment I did feel shame and a great deal of discomfort sitting in such close proximity to what a lot of people considered to be very undesirable weeds. But I loved hogweed, their height, their structure, their creamy-white umbels and I was amazed at the number of small insects that had an affinity with the plant. Tiny hoverfly, honeybees, wasps and red soldier beetles to name just a few. I was glancing at these statuesque stems.
'Do you like them; was it your intention to leave them?' One lady asked me.
'I do and it was.' I replied. 'It drives some people wild but I love them.' I continued as if to justify myself. 'But I always cut them down before they seed.' The group had all turned to admire the stems. Everyone agreed that although some of them didn't have the space to leave such plants in their gardens, they would if they had enough room, do so. My kind of gardeners.