Wildflower Wednesday

Pink Perfection
Thrift, Sea Pink,  Rock Rose, Moss Pink, Our Lady’s Cushion, tonna chladaich, Armeria maritima

Thrift (Armeria maritima)
Thrift growing on Ardivachar headland

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.

Thrift in the croft garden
Thrift in the croft garden

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

12 thoughts on “Wildflower Wednesday

  1. So this is why I cannot grow this delightful plant. They want to be on your gorgeous seaside. I tried early on before I knew better to grow plants that made no sense for my garden…they are lovely in yours. gsil

    • They are seaside sweeties and seem to need regular doses of salty air!

  2. Elephant's Eye

    gardening in a gale? When we lived in Camps Bay the south-easter could be relied on thru the summer. One New Year’s Eve the wind took off with our neighbour’s roof! My thrift is a bit sniffy, missing its salt sea breezes.

    • Nice to know that draughty gardens aren’t limited to our part of the planet! Lost a few cold frame lids last winter but so far have managed to hang onto fences, polytunnel and the roof.

  3. Beautiful flowers, I love seeing your beautiful location. Today I noted they are selling a flower named “Sea Thrift” at my local garden center. We are a three hour drive from the sea and have a significantly different climate and soil. I purchased more appropriate plants for my location but found it interesting.

    • Hi Shirley. I wonder if it was the same species? It will grow in very poor well drained soil and is drought rsistant so it may well grow for you. I’m sure the salty air is not a requirement. It is incredibly easy to grow from seed. It is a pity your on the other side of the pond otherwise I could send you some seed or even some seedlings.

  4. That first image is to die for! Spring may be late for you but worth waiting for. Christina

    • Thnak you – applause goes to Himself for the photo.

  5. I grow thrift in a sunny, fast draining bank here fifteen miles from the coast. I can give it breezes, just not sea breezes!

    • I think all it needs is very poor well drained soil. Although you’d be surprised how far salt spray can trravel – but maybe not 15 miles!. Obviously not in a serious mood today – another calm sunny day, its warm too and we’re having an away day with a picnic!

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