Last week, a Client came rushing out to meet me, asking about the wonderful new flower which had appeared in a bed which I replanted for them last year.
“What is it?” they cried, grabbing me by the wrist and hauling me round to the bed in question: “We've never seen it before, and it's gorgeous!”
The “flower” in question was not a flower at all, but the fluffy seed-heads of Pulsatilla vulgaris, or Pasque Flower. It had done its duty back in March, producing lovely nodding flowers surrounded by interestingly furry-looking foliage: and now, in late June, the seed heads had fluffed up and were looking quite dramatic.
It's a plant which can often be overlooked when deciding what to put in a bed or border: it's quite low growing, and appears very early in the year, when maybe we don't want to spend so much time outdoors. But it's easy to grow: it is happy in sun or in part shade, and it really thrives in rather poor, light soil. You often see them grown in gravel gardens, or growing through shingle, but they're just as happy in a border, as long as it is fairly well drained.
They usually come in shades of purple and magenta, and - as you can see - a beautiful clear white.
In another few weeks it will be dying back, by which time it will be covered up by the various Astilbe, Sedum (that purple thing which gives it such a good backdrop - good planning by the gardener, there!) geranium and other later-flowering plants.
Then at some point over the winter, all those plants will die down, and I'll cut back all their foliage in time to reveal the furry new foliage of the Pulsatilla, early next year.
All in all, a lovely little plant, for more than just one season!