Thrift, Sea Pink, Rock Rose, Moss Pink, Our Lady’s Cushion, tonna chladaich, Armeria maritima
As May approaches our wildflowers are still deep in slumber – sleepy heads waiting for the temperature to rise. However this tough little cushion plant has been in flower for the last two weeks or more – a nectar treat for the early spring bees.
It is a flower of the coast and will grow in rocky crevices and in almost pure sand. As its spiky, needle leaves suggest it is drought resistant and salt tolerant, perfect for the seaside garden. The buds are like miniature artichokes, pale green globes with a promise of future delights, then slowly the tiny pink petals emerge each floret like a twist of tissue.
It has a favourite of gardeners since sixteenth century and some of the of the garden strains have white or deep pink flowers. In the Croft Garden Cottage ornamental garden it grows on the edges of the paths and in awkward crevices between the rocks and almost anywhere where nothing else will survive. It also makes an appearance in the herb garden more for decorative than useful purposes. However, according to Flora Celtica in Orkney the roots boiled in milk were used as a treatment for tuberculosis and in South Uist it was once used as the traditional sailors cure for the morning after:
“take a bunch of sea pinks pulled with roots. Boil for an hour or more. Leave to cool. Drink slowly and you are ready for the next night ashore”.
I must ask my neighbours about this one!
For more Wildflower Wednesday posts please visit Gail’s blog