We have plenty of the small, buff-tailed carder bees around but there isn’t much choice of flowers available here at the moment. I have a few miniature daffodils, some tulips and a few other small spring flowers. However, once the Cotoneaster horizontalis is in flower, the garden will be buzzing with them.
Looking good in a dull corner is Pulmonaria saccharata, otherwise known as a less attractive name of lungwort. There was a time when naming plants had no remote link to academia, consistency or order. Plants originally got their names according to the part of the body they were thought to resemble, therefor must be curative to it and lungwort is thought to have resembled lung tissue. Later it was discovered, although the resemblance had nothing to do with it, Pulmonaria did have useful medical qualities in relation to lungs. It’s high antioxidant properties are considered to be effective with both heart and lung conditions. I don’t think my Pumonaria could be in any more shade or dampness than it is but it’s lovely seeing colour come back to the garden.
Originally strayed from a neighbours garden at my last house, cuttings from the Stonecrop spectabile (Ice Plant), rooted easily and I’ve had it since 2003. The pale, bluish green leaves are edible, cooked or raw, although apparently lack flavour and are a bit mucilaginous so maybe it’s not such a good idea to add it to your menu. However, it also reported to be medicinal, reducing inflammation, has purifying and detox effects and promotes secretion of saliva, so if you can find no other use for it, it might relieve a dry mouth. Otherwise it will treat you to a ‘pretty in pink’ display of flowers later in the year, which are like a magnet to bees and butterflies.
Having a look at some of the pots which I thought had quite a forlorn look about them, I discovered life does exist in them. Skirret, Chinese artichokes (or Crosnes) are showing good signs of growth. The Chinese artichokes are in a double pot, the inner pot has open sides so that you can keep an eye on growth and can harvest them without disturbing the rest, which can happily stay in the pot undisturbed and get more room to spread themselves out. Ocas are yet to be planted out, they are still in little pots just waiting to be transplanted into an open-sided pot. Also handy for keeping a check on unwelcome visitors. I had a look at the inner pot of Chinese artichokes and found three little slugs relaxing at the edge, no doubt waiting for their takeaway to open!