Thursday, 14 April 2011

Starting with the Cuckoo flower

Blogs like gardens evolve. Some mature, while others go off in different directions with new ideas. I’m gardener that is always moving plants around and changing things in my garden.


The Cuckoo flower Cardamine pratensis


When it comes to my blog the story is not much different. After 4½ years of garden watch blogging I don’t want to become too repetitive with seasonal stuff and bore the socks of regular visitors. I’ve been pondering on a different approach for this season.

Past gardening years has seen propagation/seed sowing of one plant/colour and have this trickle all through my garden. It is fun to do and the effect in a small garden is very pleasing – to me anyway ;-)

Trickling a theme through my blog for this season might be a fun way to go too. For 2011, I am looking at adding more wild flowers to my garden. This in turn will bring a trickle of bees, butterflies and insects which is good news for everyone :-)


Cuckoo flower introduced to my lawn planting first


Cuckoo flower recently planted in pockets down grass slope


Cuckoo flower strip begins. Native primroses nearby too.


A year ago before the grass was sown


The strong curved shaping beneath the grass.
No plants growing on this face.


So, just ahead of Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day tomorrow I’d like to celebrate the modest Cuckoo flower/Ladys Smock. As a child growing up in a small village I remember collecting bunches of this flower for my Mum. Wild flowers are protected now so no posies of the cuckoo flowers for Mums anymore.

The cuckoo plants shown above were bought in pots from a garden centre and I’m hoping I’ll be able to collect seed from them this year to spread them around my garden. With a lovely twist to this story… my daughter bought me these plants for Mother’s Day :-)

The big question now is... did you pick flowers for your Mum as a child and which ones do you remember fondly of now?


This post was written by Shirley for http://blog.shirlsgardenwatch.co.uk/

8 comments:

Janet said...

My mother always told me off for picking wild flowers, so even a bunch of daisies was a "no-no".

Love the direction you r blog (and garden) is taking...

Green Lane Allotments said...

I'm afraid I picked primroses and bluebells but we didn't know that we shouldn't did we? Lovely perfumes!

Even as a child I was sad though to see piles of picked bluebells just thrown down and left ofn the ground.

ShySongbird said...

I love Lady's Smock (as it is most often called in this area) and was always thrilled to find the first of the year when I was a child. I used to pick wild flowers with (rather than for) my Mother, as you say it wasn't illegal then and we knew no better. I do remember making Daisy chains for her in the garden and Rose petal scent! My deep and passionate love of Nature comes from my Mother and my fondest memories are of Sunday afternoon walks with her and my brother to find whatever was in season. We would pick Violets, Primroses, Bluebells, Cowslips Lady's Smocks, whatever we found. My Mother knew the name of everything we saw...such happy memories!

Lovely photos Shirl, I too am gradually introducing more wild flowers to the garden.

Thank you for bringing back such happy memories. Have a lovely weekend

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Those Cuckoo flowers are so sweet and delicate. What a name for them. I wonder why they chose that common name for such a sweet looking flower?? I can see why you want it in your garden. I too have some wild flowers. I just love them. The butterflies and moths etc all go to them first. I will look forward to seeing how your garden evolves. I did collect wildflowers, dandelions for my Mom. She wasn't impressed. Ha.. I also collected some of the neighbors flowers and got into trouble for that. I remember having to apologize but I don't remember the type of flower. Happy GBBD.

Christina said...

I remember fondly that I used to pick bluebells with my mother; it must have been illegal even then as one day the park keeper (it was more a wood than a park) made us tear them all up and throw them on the ground. I was so upset that we had done wrong and that we didn't have the beautiful flowers to take home. I was very young but bluebells reamin one of my favourite flowers. I haven't seen any in this part of Italy, I imagine that must grow further north. Christina

Anne McCormack said...

We collected dandelions and violets which were abundant in the lawns. No legal issue there! They make a lovely contrast.

Magic Cochin said...

Cuckoo Flowers are one of my favourites - we have some (wild ones) in our garden, but we're lucky if they flower before the pigeons nip off their heads!

Looking forward to more wildflower postings - right up my street!

Celia

shirl said...

Hi everyone, sorry for the delay in my replies. I hope you all had a good weekend. It’s been nice to read your wildflower chat :-)

Just to say videos have distracted me a bit. Google Video emailed me last week to say it is about to stop hosting videos and my blog began by uploading there. I have had 124 videos that I have been scrolling back and forth archives to find and leave messages on until I can replace them. A bit of a headache to say the least… I’m only at the 30th message and time runs out on the 28th of the month :-o

Janet, oh… I understand. Aw… but what a shame that you never enjoyed the fun of making daisy chains :-( Thanks, I hope I don’t disappoint :-)

Sue, Lovely perfumes indeed! Yes, we didn’t know then. I think I must have picked them both too and I agree about feeling sad to see flowers on the ground then too :-(Jan, Yes, I know the cuckoo flower more as Ladys Smock too :-) How lovely to hear of your memories. As the oldest of four I don’t remember picking flowers with my Mum but more of with my younger sister where I could tell her what they were. Going to a Primary school in a small village (total of 54 pupils) we went regularly on nature walks by the river and were told the names of the plants. I remember Colts foot from these walks and they always appeared in my posies. Nice to hear you too are adding wild flowers to your garden too. I think there is a trend there now and I hope it keeps going :-D

Lisa, they are so delicate and in my next post you will see that the flowers have all opened. The name does have significance. As a native perennial of damp meadows, the flowers appear around the time that cuckoos return in April -May. The clusters of pink, pale lilac or white flowers attract butterflies and bees. A caterpillar food plant of the orange tip butterfly. The leaves can be eaten as watercress. In researching this flower I discovered it had a long list of common names including bread and milk, cuckoo bread, cuckoo buds, cuckoo spit, lady's flower, lady's smock, mayflower, meadow bittercress, meadow cress, spinks and spring cress. A really common plant then ;-)

Hello again Christina, how lovely to hear (like Jan) you picked bluebells with your Mother :-) Oh… to tear them up and throw them on the ground must have been very upsetting especially when you were young and told it was wrong. Still, It must have been a special moment with your Mum for bluebells still to be a fav flower now :-D

Hello again Anne, lol… dandelions should be no problem. I collect their leaves now for our guinea pigs who love them! Violets in your lawn… what a lovely thought… we don’t see that here. A lovely contrast in a posy indeed :-D

Ah Celia, my guide to wild flower ID’s :-D How brilliant you have wild cuckoo flowers in your garden. As of next year (should my bought ones reseed about my garden I may be able to say the same ;-) Lol… although I shouldn’t… I’m just picturing our pigeons leaving the spill tray of my hanging feeders to nip off heads of my flowers… me thinks I’ll be chasing them!! Oh dear… let’s hope this street will be a fun one :-D