It is time for an up-date on the Horse Chestnut, Aesculus hippocastrum which I am looking at each month, for the Tree Following meme hosted by Lucy Corrander at Looseandleafy blog.
As I have said before, it is an Aesculus and not actually a Chestnut which is Castanea. It has nothing to do with horses, apart from having a horse shoe- like scar where last year’s leaves have fallen off.
The buds are opening up now to reveal the crumpled leaves and the flower within.
The other Aesculus tree which is close by, is not so far on and the buds have yet to open properly. I don’t know why there is a difference between the two trees growing so close together.
Some creature has been attacking the buds and here they are lying on the ground. I have never noticed this sort of damage before.
Ah, I think I have found the culprit, he left his calling card. We are overrun with fat pigeons, nosily pursuing their love affairs all over the garden.
Next month the tree will be at its best and I hope to be able to show you the beautiful flowers or candles as they are called.
Whilst walking down the garden to photograph the Horse Chestnut tree, my eye was caught by the carpets of Pulmonaria or Lungwort.
As both Horse Chestnuts and Lungworts were thought to cure chest complaints; the first in people, the second in horses, I thought I would combine the two in on post. OK, it is a tenuous link but I can’t find many myths or literary references about the Aesculus tree so now and then I will have to digress, or scrape the barrel to find a link. Otherwise the posts will be like a children’s reading book. HERE IS THE TREE. LOOK. SEE THE LEAVES. CAN YOU SEE THE LEAVES? THE LEAVES ARE ON THE TREE.
Like many people I started off with named varieties of Pulmonarias but they are notoriously promiscuous and seed round in all different colours. For this reason there are perhaps too many named varieties, all looking very similar. I like the early- flowering Pulmonaria rubra with brick-red flowers. I usually carefully remove the leaves of the Epimediums so that the flowers show up but I have left it a bit late on this one growing in front of the Pulmonaria.
‘Rubra’ has plain leaves but you can get one with heavily spotted leaves and red flowers called Pulmonaria saccharata ‘Leopard’. I think it looks good matching the red bricks of my wall.
I also enjoy the beautifully, distinctive white one called Pulmonaria ‘Sissinghurst White’.
The second picture was taken last year with the Narcissus ‘Mount Hood ‘ in full bloom, they are not quite out yet.
I also love the pure blue Pulmonaria with plain green leaves called Pulmonaria ‘Blue Ensign’
The great think about Pulmonarias is how they look so good with other Spring flowers. I love this next one growing with dwarf tulips.
They also look good with small yellow daffodils. I love it with the spidery heads of ‘Rip Van Winkle’.
But at the moment I am really thrilled with the picture created by the Pulmonaria growing with Fritillaria verticillata.
So that is my ‘chesty’ post today combining a majestic tree with the quite humble, but very pretty Spring flowers, which our forebears relied on to cure their nasty coughs.
Pleas visit Lucy at LooseandLeafy to see other Tree Following posts.
Your damage might be squirrels. One year I watched a squirrel pick a Chestnut flower bud, he then peeled back the sepals as if it was a banana, ate the flower and threw the rest down on the ground! You have some really beautiful pulmonarias, I like Sissinghurst White too, it is so different.
Thank you, Pauline. Of course, squirrels! Why didn’ t I think of that, I am over run with the little beasts.
Squirrels, what are you going to do?? I live near a large preserve (swamp) with many coyotes. So many coyotes I assumed, incorrectly, that there were no squirrels…
I have not seen most of your Pulmonarias before – they are lovely. I especially like the red one.
I’ve not seen Pulmonaria Sissinghurst White before, but it’s stunning with the White Narcissus. I do like the blue pulmonaria and yellow narcissus together – it makes a nice change from the typical forget-me-not and daffodil combos that I see all the time here – I might just borrow that one 🙂
Do you think such a book might catch on? We might get more children growing up with an interest in plants and gardening. Love the carpet of pulmonaria – and your striking P rubra. I need to work on a collection of pulmonaria again – I used to have more so I don’t know where they have gone…
I like your collection of pulmonarias and the way you have combined them so successfully with other little dainties, especially with Narcissus ‘Rip Van Winkle.’
Pulmonarias are so useful. They are spreading like wildfire in one of the most difficult garden areas I have.. boggy deep shade. I’ve just left them to it!
I’m usually underwhelmed by Pulmonaria, but that white one is a beauty!
I love when the trees start to leaf out….Lungworts are wonderful as a carpet….and I love learning about the uses of both the tree and the lungwort curing chest complaints.
I seem to recall reading that horse chestnuts can be toxic. If true, maybe you can uncover the ways the plants were used/misused for malicious purposes. Pulmonaria makes a lovely companion for a wide range of plants – I wish I could grow it.
I love the pulmonaria with the tulips, that’s my favorite. Smart of you to make the connection between the chestnut and the lungwort. It appears your mulberry is a tough act to follow.
Plenty of spring colour carpeting your garden Chloris. A friends garden had a row of horse chestnut trees that had been pollarded each year to a hight of 10ft, it was interesting to see the sticky buds developing into the large leaves. They never flowered which is the main attraction, those wonderful candlelarba shaped flowers.
I am a great Pulmonaria fan and should love some more, but seeing your moist fertile soil I realize why mine don’t seed around or flourish as well – much too dry and well- drained on my slope! That last photo with the Fritillaria is gorgeous! I think I might have to try growing some next year!
OMG, that white narcissus *adds to wish list*. My mum gave me a bit of pulmonaria last year. No idea what variety but it’s flowering and doing OK. I might move it to my shade garden though, it’s a bit dry where it is now.
I also think that squirrels could be the culprit Chloris but then I blame them for every mishap 🙂 I noticed the embryonic candles on our nearest chestnut trees last week and no doubt the candles will be glowing in May. I have made a note of your narcissus ‘Mount Hood’ which looks quite striking. I bought pulmonaria rubra ‘Rachel Vernie’ recently which I think you would like – the foliage is a most attractive soft grey green. I’m not sure yet whether it will flower as early as the ordinary rubra yet.
A most interesting, and informative, post. Needless to say those white narcsissi caught my eye! I can never make up my mind about the variety ‘Rip Van Winkle’. xx
The horse chestnut in flower is quite a sight. Something too look forward too. You’ve a nice selection of Pulmonaria too. Love the white variety, I must add some of this in my wee white shady corner for next year.
Love the Fritilaria, quite different. Jealous of your N. Rip Van Winkle – here in my garden it always collapses in a heap! Interesting to see your N. Mount Hood – I was given half a dozen bulbs last autumn by my local nursery owner and mines have more of a yellow Corona, although the flower shape etc look just right. I must ask next time I’m at the nursery.
That’s a lovely fritillary–quite good in combination with the Pulmonaria.
Those buds look ready to burst forth! I was laughing at your description of having to digress occasionally….the caps especially! Wow….what a beautiful array of Pulmonaria, I agree the one one against the brick looks marvelous! I await the flowering Horse Chestnut post, always an awesome sight!xxx
Beautiful flowers! Your tree has such beautiful large buds. They’re a sight to see.
I like the links between the plants even if they are a little tenuous! Having a horse chestnut in the garden is something I’ve always dreamed of.