Flower of the moment – pulmonaria

17 March 2017

We’ve had a few flowers in the gardens right through January (perennial wallflower and red deadnettle) and February (winter aconites, snowdrops and crocuses), which has provided some nectar for bees flying on warmer, dry days when there hasn’t been any wind. Now, as the days begin to get longer and slightly warmer, the pulmonarias have started flowering, and will continue for several weeks. Bees love them, and seem to  visit them in preference to anything else that’s flowering at the time (it’s so difficult not to keep writing “make a beeline for” on this blog, but watching bees approach all the flowers, then making straight for the pulmonaria, you can certainly see where the phrase came from).

We grow a few clumps of one of the darker blue forms (Blue Ensign), as well as the common pulmonaria with both pink and blue flowers. It’s a common plant that’s grown in many gardens round here, thriving on the local heavy clay. It prefers cool, shady places, ideally with rather more moisture than we have at the Memorial Gardens, but it’ll thrive pretty well anywhere. The only problem is that if the plants get too dry their leaves become mildewed, which can be unattractive, so we grow several clumps of them near the comfrey to provide them with shade in summer, or at least hide the leaves till we get round to cutting them off.

Here’s one of the children from the local preschool, taking time out from sowing peas to point to the pulmonaria.

And here’s a bumblebee on one of the clumps earlier this week.

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