In a Vase on Monday: White, Blue and Yellow

I really pulled the stops out this week – three vases! To make up for missing last week ;-)

These flowers were all gathered on Sunday, as we had been promised rain for later (which didn’t materialize… maybe tomorrow?). I enjoyed a few moments simply wandering, breathing in the scents of Spiraea, daydreaming as I snipped bits of this, strands of that…

The Spiraea has been flowering for a few days and has a delicate scent – not too strong for the sensitive noses in our house. The blue and white Brunnera looked good next to the white, and reminded me of the Bavarian colours blue and white; blue for the sky and white for the clouds.

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My second vase used some of the Kerria japonica, also just starting to open. With some golden Euonymous from the rockery, some Euphorbia and a few young beech shoots the vase looked nice, but the addition of another sprig of Spiraea really lightened it up. It looks pretty against the copper over our chimney place.

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My favourite, however, is this little posy of spring flowers… cowslips and wild hyacinths, brunnera, gold strawberry flowers and Lamium, with a couple of daisies thrown in. I love little arrangements; our dining room table is my favourite place to sit and work/eat/blog/read etc, and there is always space for a small vase there, while a larger one tends to get in the way.

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I have never thought much about bringing flowers from my own garden into the house until joining in with Cathy’s meme at Rambling  in the Garden. It is so lovely to walk round the garden and concentrate on what to pick, and then to enjoy the flowers in a vase too. So thank you Cathy and all the other participants. Take a look at some of them linked to her post – all so inspiring! Perhaps you will be tempted to try it out…

 

 

Pulmonarias – or “Spotted Dogs”?

Pulmonaria1Pulmonaria hybrid

My first (happy) meeting with Pulmonaria flowers was in a car park in Blakeney, North Norfolk, UK. The whole of the front of the hotel we were staying at was planted with the pink and blue beauties and the bees were having a real party!

Since then I have been smitten.

Over the last few years I have collected several which I’d like to show you… some remain unidentified, but the more recent ones have been carefully labelled. One of these was the first to open in my garden this spring; “Sissinghurst White”. It has freckly, silvery green leaves and is a small and upright specimen. It has been flowering for about 3 weeks now.

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And here a visitor is looking for some shade beneath it…

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The next to open was one of the unidentified ones picked up from a garden centre, helpfully labelled “Pulmonaria”! It is situated in a very dry spot in full sun, but seeded itself there and seems very happy.

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The tiny flowers change colour as they age, not fading but often becoming more vibrant. And the foliage, in various shades of green, both with and without silvery freckling, is an attractive extra, especially before and after the flowers appear. I have been very impressed with the plain-leafed “Azurea” below, which has flowered well and put on a lot of new growth.

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A mild winter seems to have helped them all, and I will have to make sure they get some water in the summer occasionally too. In an extremely dry and hot garden like mine in summer it is a good idea to find spots where other plants provide shade later in the year.

I remarked a couple of weeks ago that the P. angustifolia “Azurea” is the only one I had seen with plain, unfreckled leaves…. well, I hadn’t been looking very closely!  I have since found two others in my garden that are not spotted;  Pulmonaria rubra ‘Redstart’ was a new addition to my garden last autumn and is doing well. Its flowers really are red, with no hint of pink, and the plain pale green leaves are not as elongated as most.

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I have really fallen for Rubra!

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The other plain-leafed one is possibly a hybrid as I have no recollection of planting this one! It is very delicate and has lovely pale pink flowers…

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Another new one to my garden this year is “Trevi Fountain”. It has the same deep azure blue as “Azurea”, but with freckled leaves…

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The last two are very similar: Dora Bielefeld, with pale geen freckled leaves and pinkish blue flowers…

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… and “Wuppertal” with slightly darker green speckled foliage…

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Pulmonaria should have a much prettier name; something evoking images of fairies and petticoats, candy and pearls. Just recently Steve at Portraits of Wildflowers found some more common names for me from Wikipedia, one of which I found quite cute: “Spotted Dog“. Still not quite fitting I feel, but fun!

Some other common names are, apparently, soldiers and sailors (the two hues of colour on each flower reflect the uniform colours), Joseph and Mary, Jerusalem cowslip, oak lungs, spotted comfrey, and Bethlehem sage. Some German common names include Hansel and Gretel, Adam and Eve, blue cowslip, deer cabbage (Hirschkohl), and baggy trousers (Schlotterhose)….

Which name do you think suits them best?

Do you grow Pulmonarias? Please share your photos too!

Links:

Lungwort

Pulmonaria Honey

Henriette’s Herbs (German)

Hardy Plant Society (UK)

 

 

 

Tuesday View (1st April)

March was such a pleasant month – mostly sunny, occasionally breezy, and with some really warm days mixed in. But far too dry. I have actually had to water some individual plants, which I rarely do even in summer. This has slowed down the “greening” process, but I am certainly not complaining as spring always seems to be over far too quickly. Don’t you agree?

The view today…

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And zooming in we can see some tiny daffodils – the frilly ones are called “Rip van Winkle”!

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The tiny blue flowers are Aubretia – I’m not usually keen on them, but the bees love them…

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The Spring Corner is still looking lovely even after the warm weather we’ve been having. Maybe the cool nights have helped…

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Finally, I found this on the woodland path – two hazel catkins fell to form a heart. Aaah, so sweet. I just had to show you!

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Have a happy week!

:D