I went to photograph this beautiful cornflower and when I got close noticed it had an occupant! It was a type of shield bug I think – red on the outside with a gold triangle in the middle.

Shield Bug in Centaurea cyanus

Previously known as Dicentra spectabilis ‘Alba’ it has been renamed Lamprocapnos spectabilis in 2011. This is the white flowered version of Love Lies Bleeding or Bleeding Heart, which gets its name from the heart-shaped flowers which drip from beautiful arching flower stems. It is a hardy cottage-garden flower, which performs well in both shade and sun, so long as it doesn’t dry out. It is looking spectacular at the moment with so many flowers on it. I couldn’t choose my favourite stem, so I cropped it down to these two flowers.

White Dicentra - Lamprocapnos spectabilis

“The Bluebell is the sweetest flower
That waves in summer air:
Its blossoms have the mightiest power
To soothe my spirit’s care.”
Emily Bronte

This poem beautifully fits my walk through the wood today, where the bluebells were looking absolutely magnificent and the birds were singing so cheerfully. There isn’t a better place on earth to be right now.

DSC_5661

The tulips stayed firmly shut today, due to lack of sun, but I think the outside of the flower is just as beautiful. I thought this image shows off the curves and shape really well.

Tulip

I didn’t get round to planting these bulbs until after Christmas, so they are only just beginning to flower. This is a delicate, miniature iris, small, but beautifully formed with velvety petals and striking markings.

Iris reticulata

This exotic looking flower is the flower spike on my Melianthus major shrub. Melianthus, also known as Honeybush, is a tender shrub and when growing outside in England it normally dies back in the winter due to the cold. Due to the mild winter we have had this year, it not only survived, but has flowered as well! I am particularly pleased with this one as I grew the shrub from seed last year.

Flower on Melianthus major

Melianthus major has previously been my pictures of the day here and here.

I have probably seen more ladybirds in the garden today, than I saw all last summer, which is great news for us and bad news for the aphids! I watched these little guys/gals for ages crawling on the forget-me-not flowers (Mysotis).

Ladybird on forget-me-not flowers

The forget-me-not blue contrasts so well with the yellow flowers that dominate spring gardens. I love them planted around the base of tulips. They are so easy to grow, just scatter some seed down in the summer/autumn and the following year you will be rewarded with lots of flowers on compact plants. I bought a packet of forget-me-not seed some years ago and have never had to buy any since! I always leave some plants to self-seed after flowering. When the plantlets grow, I just move them to where I want them and pull up any excess.

forgetmenots

In the language of flowers, Forget-me-nots mean True Love, Memories, Do not forget.

This is probably my favourite British wild flower. It takes me right back to my childhood when they were a common sight in fields and we used to pick them by the handful and stuff them into jam jars filled with water. I grow these from seed many years ago and they have happily spread themselves around the garden.

Yellow flower: Cowslips, Primula veris

When cowslips and primroses grow in close proximity to one another, they cross pollinate to produce an interesting variation called a false oxlip – in a true oxlip, the flowers droop to one side.

False oxslip