Introduced into gardens before the 1600s, this plant from the Mediterranean soon escaped and became naturalised in the wild. Despite its non-native status, it is a good source of nectar from May to October for bees, butterflies and moths like the Hummingbird Hawk-moth.
This is Centranthus ruber var. coccineus. Often known as the red valerian, spur valerian, kiss-me-quick, fox’s brush, devil’s beard or Jupiter’s beard. It has good drought resistance; thrives on walls and in coastal gardens. And one of the best places to see it is growing on the walls of the Malakoff in St Ives, an open space that provides views of St Ives Harbour, Porthminster Beach and St Ives Bay.
It also occurs in a paler pink and white. It self-seeds easily and can look very pretty when left to naturalise in wilder areas of the garden.
I am going to join in with Dawn’s Festival of Spring which will last for 10 -12 weeks in celebration of this season.