Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Introducing into the Garden: Lungwort

The next new addition to my garden from my mother in law's is lungwort:

(ok, so it's not at its prettiest here, because the flower show was over when I got it, and I had to plop it in the not most amazing spot... full of spiderwebs now, thus the not usual closeup pics I like to do.  Note the cool hairy leaves though!)  (Also, please look at the other links of the pics of lungwort to get a MUCH better idea of its grandeur)

I've got an eye for striking looking plants I think (meaning I'm only good at identifying those types of plants, more mundane looking plants and I'm worthless) and lately it feels like I've been seeing lungwort everywhere lately (at the Master Gardener's hoe-down, in Botanical gardens, yada) like once you see one red head, you notice 5 of them all at once in whatever location you're in (redheads are a bad example, but I like to insert them in here because my husband is one and I love it).

Bad example, I know, but maybe because I've been seeing them a lot they've become somewhat on the the mind and it's as though they want to be with me!  "Take us home, Persephone!  There you can see us everyday in the garden in our full glory!  Come mid-spring winter we will be full of wonderful glorious flowers that will make you happy! Happier than daffodils or even hellebores can make you!"

Whoa, talk about some siren song those things have got there, so I asked for some of those too from my MIL and she kindly obliged :)

Unlike the Campanula that I blogged about last time, no on Dave's Garden gave lungwort any negatives or warnings about invasiveness, so hurray there, plant on other end of spectrum! (We like diversity here in Persephone's garden).

Besides just having cool foliage, I always thought about having lungwort (Pulmonaria saccharat) as an addition to my garden because I'd heard of its supposed medicinal herbal affiliations, which I soon began to suspect as folklore after much research.  As its name seems to imply, it has to with the lungs, and how?  Well, the spottiness of the leaves made ancient herbalists be reminded of disease lungs, and so they thought best that this was the herb to treat such problems (like walnuts and pecans are good for the brain because they resemble the brain.... which is not so far off apparently... but yes, association does not mean fact)

Still a very attractive flower in the borage family (which I am a fan of the herb) so in it goes!

Lungwort should grow no more than 18 inches high and 2 feet wide and is hardy in zones 4a-9b and is perennial (heart).  It is partial to partial sun to full shade and so I've placed it in my little microclimate underneath a canopy of holly bushes where it should keep a good amount of moisture and leaves (which will become leaf mold eventually) and so it will hopefully stay happy there.

Apparently it is cool enough that someone bought it a domain name which is chock full of good info.  Interesting info such as the variegation that is so loved in lungworts, the silvery bits, are actually air pockets underneath the leaves that keep the plant cool.

Eventually I might move the lungwort to a little sunnier spot, but as I am running out of room a bit... it's gonna stay there for now.


Jim Groble said...

We have 3 of them. The year after we planted them they looked like goners. I cleared the space around them and gave them a bunch of sweet peet and they came bake this year. They have a very pretty flower that changes colors. jim

persephone said...

hmm, sweet peat, good to know! I can't wait for them to flower next year, hopefully they'll do well and I can get good pictures with plenty of light and no fear of running into spiderwebs! If I move it at some point, maybe at the end of the summer, do you think it will still flower next year, or punish me and not?