Along the back of our house is a strip of stones and pebbles. The strip gets the morning sun so we've placed a table and chairs there for warmer mornings when we can sit in the sun and look out over the garden and through the hedges to the fields beyond.
The back of our house is rather bland but until we have renovated I will not plant anything. So I have a few pots of bulbs but that's about it. But in the last week or so a sweet little purple flower has popped up all over the stones and in a nearby border.
The photo below shows the path at the back a week later last year. Despite the obvious earlier spring last year, it looks as though these plants might have been in the stones last year but were not in the bed.
My concern was that it was a uncontrollable weed that would take over my entire garden in a few years (I grew up in Australia so my British weed knowledge is limited and I have a constant fear that an invader will take over like cane toads). So I pulled a couple up, popped them in a vase and grabbed one of my favourite gardening books: Wonderful Weeds.
I bought this book because, ever since learning that you can make nettle soup, I've been fascinated with the use of 'weeds' for food for both me and my bees. I also hate weeding so any excuse to let the 'weeds' spread is fine with me.
I couldn't find this plant in the book but I did find something very similar: yellow corydalis. After a bit of a search on the RHS Plant Finder I think I am convinced it is some sort of corydalis. It has the 'finely-divided, glaucous foliage and erect racemes of light pink, long-spurred flowers'. It also has what looks like a small bulb.
Despite being in shade for most of the day and on top of heavy clay, they seem quite happy. They are also another welcome source of food for the bees in early spring. So I think I'll leave them and just keep an eye on their spread into the nearby rock garden and border.