Pulsatilla ‘Pearl Bells’
PEARL PASQUE FLOWER
Winter bells of bridal satin
Petite Pulsatilla vernalis is perhaps the most exquisite of all the Pasque Flowers, despite standing at just 20cm. on tip toes in flower.
It is certainly the most dwarf, but what it lacks in stature it more than makes up for in appeal.
Whilst flashing shining stars of cream faintly blushed with lilac bloom in winter, well before any of the others.
So Pulsatilla vernalis is also known as “Lady of the Snow” in cold districts, where they do indeed bloom through the winter snow if necessary.
(Please see the “Growing” section below for all details about how to grow)
Silky mop tops in summer
Its winter flowers are precious, but the wildly harum-scarum silky seed heads which follow over summer are equally valuable.
Because these gleaming seed balls of summer silk decorate the garden for ages as well as making lovely additions to a vase of cut flowers.
Thus Pulsatilla vernalis has the full beauty kit, with plump silky buds; bridal satin flowers; wonderful seed heads; plus lacy foliage.
Making it simply impossible to have winter sads when you spot these little charmers emerging.
Pulsatilla vernalis Satin Pasque Flower is treasured as a herald of spring and better days to come.
Beautiful but easy to grow
Pulsatillas are hardy, easy, and so very rewarding for minimal work.
Plant in Sun to Half Shade and Dappled Sun. They are tolerant of periods of dry, once settled in.
Value is added with them being extremely frost hardy, and unlikely to be troubled by pests and diseases.
Growing: Pulsatila ‘Pearl Bells’
PEARL PASQUE FLOWER
– Height with flowers: 30cm. approx.
– Width: A well established clump will make approx. 45cm. diameter.
– Position: Full Sun to Part Shade / Dappled Sun / Woodland position. Tolerant of periods of dry once established.
– Soil:They love lime, but are generally very tolerant of a wide variety of soils, including those with a pH on the acid side of neutral, as well as on the alkaline lime side. However they positively thrive with a handful of lime, or in naturally lime rich soils. They insist on good drainage and are quite partial to gravel. Plus they respond to compost and humus with even more abundant flowering. However if asked – they are very forgiving and easy about growing in a wide variety of soils and conditions.
– Frost: Extremely frost hardy, even in hard frosts to well below -10C.
– Growth: Perennial clump. They will remain evergreen in milder climates, but are deciduous in areas with very heavy frosts (like our garden).
– Care: Pasque Flowers are very easy, low maintenance plants once established. They only require normal, average garden watering, and are actually quite tolerant of dry periods once your clumps have got their grip on the world.
– Fragrance: Sadly none, but they are so lovely you cant always have everything.
– Beneficial for wildlife: Pasque Flowers are particularly rich in both nectar and pollen, so they are very welcome early season treats for bees and other insect pollinators.
– Beware: Should not be ingested. They are not edible, and fresh leaves will actually cause irritation in the mouth – so there is no incentive to take a bite.
– Deer & Rabbit resistant: Fortunately the chemical compound within the plant that causes mouth irritation when eaten, causes the pesky rabbits and deer to steer clear of them too.
– Origin: Pulsatillas are native to widespread areas of Europe and Asia (hence Pulsatilla’s adaptable, versatile and easy-going nature). Where they grow in light woodland including amongst pines, and out in grassy wild meadows. So they are accustomed to competing amongst other plants.
– History:The common name Pasque Flower (meaning Easter Flower) comes from French. Of course it does flower at Easter in the northern hemisphere, but is a good six months out in our southern hemisphere.
The botanical name Pulsatilla is thought to come from the Latin word “pulso”, which means “violent movement”, and this is probably what would happen if you ate too much fresh Pulsatilla.
However a more romantic theory is that Pulsatilla comes from the Latin word “pulsare” meaning to quiver, which is exactly what these beautiful flowers do so attractively in the late winter and spring breezes.