Saturday, March 17, 2007

Gardener's World Returns: Pulmonaria

And about time too. Friday nights just aren't the same without the theme tune Morning Light calling me to abandon everything else and come to the sofa with a glass in hand. This 8.30pm deadline is sacrosanct - if I haven't done it before Gardener's World, it isn't going to get done. The theme tune marks the start of my weekend. Lovely.
In this opening programme, Monty Don appears to be sporting a new haircut, slightly longer than we are perhaps used to; maybe it's the light blue colour of his jumper, not a colour I usually associate with my gardening guru. Of course, these are the trivial nonsenses that concern the idle viewer, out of the habit of focusing on the real stars of the show, the glorious plants! And what an opener last night's plants were.

Pulmonaria longifolio "Bertram Anderson"
Pulmonaria or Lungworts are valuable plants, not only for their early pink or blue flowers, but also for their foliage. The clusters of nodding flowers, which attract bees, stand out well against the glossy green leaves. Plants make good trouble-free ground cover for moist shade; they spread slowly and need little care. The Latin root pulmo, gives this plant it's common name, lungwort. The Doctrine of Signatures describes Pulmonaria as an effective remedy for diseases of the lung because the spotted leaves carried on most species were supposed to resemble diseased lungs.

"Pulmonaria rubra" is often one of the first lungworts to flower, with blooms appearing in mid- to late winter.

"Blue Ensign" is one of the earliest varieties to flower, creating a good display of bright, blue blooms throughout March and April. These fade gradually to purple with age. This variety is distinctive because it has plain green foliage.

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