Thursday, 22 May 2014

6 Good Reasons to Love the Humble Wallflower

A posy of wallflowers and forget-me-nots from my garden

Today I’ve decided to stray from the birth month flowers that this blog is usually about because my garden is still full of wallflowers and they’re one of my favourite flowers!

I think the wallflower is often under-appreciated, mainly because the dark red version, which seems to be the most common, can seem a bit dreary. 

And maybe it’s also because it’s so easy to grow – in fact it can seem almost like a weed when it finds its way onto a wall.

Wall in Swan Meadow, Abergavenny

But I am always pleased to see my first wallflowers in bud, knowing that by the time the flowers open, winter will finally be well and truly behind us.

Here are a few of the reasons why I’m so fond of wallflowers –

1. The colours of wallflowers can range from palest yellow through gold and fiery red to deep, dark, burgundy velvet. And the ‘Persian Jewels’ variety adds a whole range of pinks and purples to the mix. Glorious to paint, both in watercolours and in oil pastels!

2. I love the fragrance of a bed of massed wallflowers, even though it was one of the first fragrances to bring on my allergy symptoms!

3. Wallflowers bloom for a long period of time so their colour well and truly bridges the gap between the spring bulbs and the summer flowers. I think of them as mainly a May flower but in fact mine were beginning to show buds in March this year. 

They are so reliable that it’s hardly surprising that the wallflower stands for ‘intense fidelity in the throes of adversity.

4. The wallflower represents great value both in terms of time and money spent. It is, strictly speaking, a biennial and I usually buy the plants in bundles from the greengrocer, in September, to plant out for flowering the following spring. But I find they are often bigger and bushier in the second or even the third year.  Over the years I’ve come to realise that the time to get rid of a wallflower plant and replace it with a new one, is when the plant no longer resists a gentle tug.

5. The wallflower is also a favourite with bees and as far as I’m concerned, that is a Very Good Thing.

6. There is also a true perennial wallflower and the Bowles Mauve does very well in my garden, though I’ve had less luck with the other colours. My Bowles Mauve flowers all year round, apart from taking a short break in February!

Ever since 1820, ‘wallflower’ has been the term used to describe a girl or woman who seems to be unable to find a partner and therefore, at a dance, she remains seated at the edge of the room, with her back to the wall. 

As such, it’s not a very flattering term. But in all other respects, I have great admiration and affection for wallflowers; so if I had to choose a to be a flower, a wallflower would be a strong contender!

If you had to be a flower, which one would you like to be?

to see some of my
on Gifts and Greeting Cards
(some of them suitable for Mother's Day!)


Jayne said...

I've always loved wallflowers. I've been a wallflower a few times too, lol. Nice work :-)

Judy Adamson said...

Hi Jayne, thank you for your comments.

I'm so glad to connect with another wallflower enthusiast. We seem to be quite rare.

And I think I'd rather forget those times when I've been a wallflower - part of the agonies of growing up, I suppose! :D

Carole Barkett said...

This is another flower we don't see here. It's very pretty. Perhaps it's too dry and of course cold.