Monday, 30 March 2009

native woodland flowers

Our small garden is divided into several smaller gardens. The longest established of these is our shaded path. Here, were are trying to replicate a woodland habitat. The shade provides lots of opportunities for specialist native plants to thrive and flower - especially in spring. Our early native plants not only provide nectar for bees and butterflies, they can become the host plants for the caterpillars of native moths and butterflies later in the season.

Our native lungwort (pulmonaria) is a small and pretty plant that has simple flowers in two colours on the same stem. Its spotted leaves reminded our antecedents of diseased lungs - hence its name. It is the food of native moths. I first saw it flowering in springtime in Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust's Treswell Wood and loved it immediately. Although fairly common in our gardens, I still think it is a little gem.

Our native primrose (primula vulgaris) is my favourite flower. Once again, seen studding the woodland floor at Treswell, this little beauty will flower from January to June. Its leaves are the larval food plant of the duke of burgundy fritillary butterfly. Unfortunately, the range of this butterfly does not reach up to Nottinghamshire. Perhaps, one day, one will stray in and find a welcome home in our shaded path.

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