Tuesday, 27 March 2012
Pulmonaria, commonly known as lungwort because the leaves with their peculiar marking are said to represent a person’s lungs, were literally believed to be a cure for lung disease. It might well be a native plant as it is mentioned in the earliest herbals.
Roy Genders, in his book ‘The Cottage Garden’, tells that there was an old country superstition that the white markings on the leaves were made by drops of our Lady’s Milk for the plant grows wild in Palestine and around the shores of the Mediterranean.
It is one of the earliest and most reliable flowers of spring. Content with dry shade, its clusters of pink and blue flowers blend beautifully with hellebores and, as the flowers fade, the bold, oval leaves, splashed with grey, take their place.
Another of spring's jewels is the humble primrose of which Coleridge wrote,
'In dewy glades,
The peering primrose, like sudden gladness,
Gleams on the soul…’
The plant takes its name from primaverola, meaning the first flower of springtime. In Shakespeare's time the plant was held in such esteem as to be the word most often used to denote excellence as in,
'She is the pride and primrose of the rest'.
Once the Christmas season is over and the fresh flower swag and Christmas tree have gone over, I buy pots of cheap, brightly coloured primulas from the local supermarket, (which is often cheaper than local nurseries), and place the plants, still in their pots, in wicker baskets around the house. They are such good value and help counter the post-Christmas blues. They flower for weeks and, once the flowers have finished they can be planted outside in a shady spot to flower again later in the year.
Highly recommended to lift the spirits