A stripey rain soaked wallflower
This is the time for wallflowers, belonging to the genus Erysimum, their bright oranges, yellow and deep reds adorn the walls and verge sides, slightly untidy and not very glamourous cruciferous plants. Years ago could buy an untidy bunch of the plants at our local greengrocer in Bath, tied with string and mud clinging to their roots in autumn, hardy as well (cold fingers as you pushed their strong roots into the soil). Not sure if they are wild, they straddle that line of cottage flowers creeping out of the garden anyway, or into, take your pick.
We have them in the front growing in impoverished soil under the laurel hedge, they have danced over to the green and into other people's gardens. You bring them into the house for their spicy perfume but not their elegance. William Robinson says of them,
"The wallflower is a native of Southern Europe, growing on old walls, quarries and sea cliffs, it loves a wall better than garden, it grows coarsely in garden soil but forms a dwarf enduring bush on an old wall if planted in mortar"
He recommends growing them in dry stony banks in the rock garden, or on old ruins, many different varieties were grown round the London nurseries in the 19th century..
Bowles Mauve its grey foliage setting off the mauve of the flower.
There is another wallflower in the garden, Bowles Mauve, a shrubby perennial much loved by the solitary bee, which I call the Pulmonaria bee ,(Anthophora plumipes), which feeds on the early lungwort flowers at this time of the year, and which the old garden was full of, as it spread itself quite happily.
I'm not sure of this fact, but I think Bowles Mauve was raised by the Reverend William Lisle Bowles, who wrote atrocious 19th century poetry and lived at Bremhill not too far from Calne in Wiltshire where once I lived. An Important Person, or so it would seem from the biographies online ;)
|White sweet rocket growing against the wall on Bath racecourse. This would be a survivor from the old cottage that stood where now the modern house stands.|
Rain has been falling for the last two weeks, sometimes sun and showers, other times heavy storms, so we are at least getting some of our quota of water from the heavens above.