A LINGERING LOVE FOR LUNGWORTS


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The cool spring has given our lungworts (species and about four and a half thousand varieties) an unusually long season.  Usually, by now, they’ve stopped flowering, or have been engulfed in the wild burgeoning of oncoming perennials.  Many of the blue flowered ones (good’uns like the rich ‘Highdown’, or the one liked by Gertrude Jekyll, and called ‘Munstead Wood’. This, too, has strong blue flowers, but set off by brilliant purple veins), are finishing up.  The ones that start purple, and develop handsomely into blue, are still around.  The whites, often with very nicely speckled leaves will expire soon (…..), but the lovely brick-pink Pulmonaria rubra is still on the go, its robust foliage and sharp drops of colour working here marvellously amongst big clumps of the Mouring Widow geranium (Geranium ….) in the basic mauve form, and the delighful white flowered one, and some big clumps of the ‘pink cow parsley’, also on soft mauve. The lungwort is is probably the form called ‘Bowles Red’, with coarse unspotted leaves, though if you find it too much, the are red flowered forms with spotted foliage, and more delicately mannered. In any case, if you want to see the whole range of what you could grow, search for ‘pulmonaria’ on google images.  It will make you want acres, if you don’t already have some.

ImageOK. I’ve mentioned some variety names for particularly lovely plants.  Produced, as far as I know, by division of clumps (perhaps they’re being micropropagated by now), they are often expensive.  Buy a few that you like, and look after them (pretty easy in good soil and partial shade).  However, after a couple of seasons, as they hybridise easily, you should be finding some absolutely corking new variants of your own, leaves variously silvered, even all silver, flowers in opal blues, intense violets and so on, or in paler shades like the lovely ‘Cambridge Blue’ if that was in the parentage.

ImageThe seedlings appear in picturesque places.  Alec’s Lincoln garden has them self-sown into steps, and looking very pretty.  But one gorgeous one, with inky purple flowers and rather good leaves, has seeded into the fibrous remains of a whopping pampas grass now, fortunately, no longer with us. If you have something that is particularly lovely, you could always give it a name.  The one in the pampas?  Nah, something better may turn up next season…

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About david stuart

garden writer and journalist, and occasionally a designer, with a garden in the Scottish borders, and his pal's gardens in Edinburgh, London, and Lincolnshire. They keep both of us very, very busy. Books I've written listed on my website, and dozens of articles and garden and plant pictures. Currently working on several new projects. One of these was to return to painting - see the blog - and which is proving exciting! www.david-stuart.co.uk or, more fun, have a look at www.pinterest.com/davidcstuart
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One Response to A LINGERING LOVE FOR LUNGWORTS

  1. I always find it fortunate when a pampas grass is gone.

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