Lungwort and the Show-Offs

Pulmonaria, otherwise known as Lungwort, Soldiers and Sailors, Spotted dog, Joseph and Mary, Jerusalem Cowslip, Bethlehem Sage, 肺草属 fei cao shu (they're Asian!) are among the first spring flowers, chez Charlier. These small jewels bedazzle one of the front beds and are some of my favorite early spring flowers.

Scene-stealing attention hogs in front of the sedate pulmonaria.

Unfortunately the perky, self-righteous, showy, must-be-seen, screaming-for-attention daffodils are in the bed directly in front of them, so the lungwort don't get the attention they deserve. The daffodils shout spring and are noticeable in a drive-by. The lungwort, low-to-the-ground, dignified, quietly announcing the change of seasons, is a traffic-stopper for the stop-and-smell-the-roses crowd. Daffodils are more like the fast food of flowers. Just my opinion. You can start arguing now.


  1. You are so brave Jim! The daffodil lovers can just beat you up!
    Purple and pink guys are lovely!

  2. I'm a big fan of daffs, so can't agree with your comments (although I defend your right to them!), but think the blue and yellow ought go nicely together. Maybe if they were planted closer together? Or intermingling? (It's a bit difficult to know exactly from the posted pix.)But they're both such cheerful flowers.

  3. Tatyana,
    Daffodil lovers couldn't beat up a ten-year-old girl! For all my grousing, I planted them - for two reasons. My wife likes them. And they were free - around 100 bulbs from my block club the year they wanted every house on the street to plant them and only about ten of the 75 houses did.

    My actual problem with dafs is that I'm not enamored with their color. I tend to prefer more jewel-tones in the garden. I'd prefer they be a deeper orange-yellow. That would make me happier. The daffodils are planted in a bed that has lavender in it. Once the dafs are gone the lavender starts to take over and lavender makes for a great plant for that bed, because passers-by can smell it.

  4. After a 60-year love affair with daffodils, I've switched to hyacinths as my primary favorite spring bloomers.

    I wouldn't go so far as to dig up a daffodil, but my fall planting ritual has changed to hyacinths and lilies.

  5. Gotta love them both, Jim! You are right! Nothing shouts Spring like the daffodils! I love them so because they come, they do their thing, and they go -- so dynamic! Nothing intrigues me more than the changing seasonal garden!

  6. Every gardener is entitled to an opinion. :-) I once had daffs take over a bed at a previous home, so now I use them sparingly. I'm a Spanish bluebell fan for spring color. I do love your dainty and dignified pulmonaria.


  7. NellJean,
    I would never get rid of my daffodils either. But I would like to do more hyacinths. I have a huge swath of grape hyacinths, but some big ol' classic strong-scented hyacinths would be great intermixed with the daffs might be nice.

    Yes, they'll be gone soon enough. And the lungwort will look like crap in another couple months too.

    Oooow, bluebells. Nice.

  8. Funny you say that about the daffodil color because I tend to feel that way myself. I love a rich orangey-yellow and also like pale yellows as an accent in a quieter, more natural garden, but that bright yellow always seems to be screaming "Did I say it was ok to notice any other flowers? Eyes front! Look at me!"

  9. I love both. it wouldn't be spring without daffodils. but lungwort is a real charmer. I love how the flowers change from pink to blue. I have to move mine. they get too much sun in the dead of summer and wilt like crazy...I can't water them fast enough. a little shade is in order. but those's one of the few times i appreciate a show-off.

  10. Though I'm not a huge fan of the big daffs in domestic yards, I like them OK. The foliage however is another story.


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