Seen at the Festival of the Tree

...if you would be happy all your life, plant a garden ~ Chinese proverb

Friday, 15 May 2015

GBBD: First-time Wallflowers

Collage of one of my garden pots of wallflowers

Unlike most gardeners, I've never grown spring-flowering wallflowers before - there's always a first time for everything! I was given a mixed bunch of plants after my visit to T&M's trials ground last year, which was handy as they're biennials.

Mixed bunches of plants are always a bit of a shot in the dark as you're never sure what you're going to get. Most of my pots have turned out to contain just the burnt-orange version, but to my surprise I prefer my truly mixed pot with its contrasting cooler tones of lemon and apricot.

This pot is close to the patio doors and my seat at the kitchen table so I've had time to observe the subtle changes in colour from emerging bloom to mature flower, and also spot the scrawled veination across each petal. Their scent is wonderful too.

Erysimum 'Bowles Mauve'
Until now I've preferred their perennial cousin Erysimum 'Bowles Mauve', which is also in bloom this month. If it stays true to form it'll remain so for the rest of the year. However, don't be surprised if I come home from our local market in the autumn with another mixed bunch of wallflowers. I'll be looking forward to further surprises next spring.

Garden Bloggers Blooms Day is hosted by Carol at May Dreams Gardens. Have a look at my entry for April, to see how my pot has changed in just a month.

Latin without tears

According to Val Bourne's article in 2013's Gardens Illustrated, the genus Erysimum is derived from the Latin erno, which means to draw up. Biennial wallflowers were previously of the genus Cheiranthus (now placed within Erysimum), which was derived from the Greek cheir, meaning hand and anthos, flower. This name is probably derived from the wallflower nosegays used to ward off the stench of Medieval streets.

Val's article is well worth a read as she tells a tragic tale in the History and Legend section as well as providing a number of recommendations of varieties worth growing.


  1. I *love* wallflowers. Takes me straight back to my granddad, who used to grow them from seed. Then in the spring, he'd dig some up, wrap them in wet newspaper, and give them to my mum (and later to me as well), to grow on. Mine (sadly not from my granddad) are looking glorious this year, but didn't come wrapped in newspaper and love.

  2. I love your story Sharon :) I'm pretty sure our local market will have them wrapped in newspaper, but sadly without the love.

  3. Yes, not many plants you can buy wrapped in newspaper are there, they are quite evocative from that point of view. I've never grown them either, but they're definitely a flower from my childhood neighbourhood. I'd love to give them a go, maybe this year I'll sow some. Yours are doing beautifully in pots. I put some stocks outside my kitchen door the other day, I'm enjoying the sight and scent of them so much.

    1. That's another plant I've yet to grow CJ. Perhpas we can inspire each other!

  4. I grew wallflowers from seed - two varieties one for the plot and a shorter one for containers but I have been disappointed with the range of colours. Also the perfume isn't very strong

    1. That's a shame Sue :( I don't have room to grow them from seed - that's why I've resisted growing them in the past.

  5. Very pretty!
    Happy Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day!

  6. I've brought one home this year too. Never having grown them either but became enamored with them as I tend them at the nursery where I work. They have such a long bloom time if kept deadheaded. Love your Bowles Mauve too.I brought home a soft buttery yellow which ages to pale cream. Just beautiful!

    1. I like the look of the Apricot one Joan, also there's a variegated variety I might try.

  7. Lovely, and popular, flowers. Flighty xx

  8. I grew my first wallflowers as well and when I saw your photo it looked very much like my results! Funny how that happens.


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