PasqueFlowers Looking Stunning this Easter

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The Pasqueflower — Latin name Pulsatilla vulgaris — is a rare wild flower of the UK being found now on just a few chalk and limestone grasslands. Known as the ‘anemone of Passiontide’, it flowers briefly but dramatically, in April, often at Easter or ‘paschal’, the feast of passover. In my garden this year it arrived on cue, at was at its best over the sunny Easter bank holiday, producing a glorious display and allowing me to capture some wonderfully detailed photos of it looking its best.

The flowers are large, blousy and ridiculously delicate. Each bud opens from a necklace of fine-fingered, downy foliage, before extending its stem upwards, like a swan lifting its neck. Perhaps this is behind one of its folk-names: gosling.

As it lifts its head, the flower passes through an entire lifetime in a fleeting few days with each bud expanding to the full-flowered two inch egg-cup, filled with golden stamens, before wilting, shrinking and transforming into a papery brown wrapper from which the seed head begins to emerge. You can see it in all of these stages in the photo above.

The dynamism of this plant is remarkable. As well as progressing from bud to seedhead, these wind-flowers (as they are also known), change with the weather, closing when the skies are grey, and hanging forlornly when rain weighs them down. Sun worshipers, they seem to positively beam towards the heavens. In my garden they thrive on the sun-baked green roof where the thin soil (3 in, 8cm) is much like the shallow turf found in their downland habitat.

As well as the wild purple colouration, garden varieties of pasqueflower come in white and crimson. Listed as growing to 25cm mine reach 35cm cm and have formed robust clumps up to 60cm across. Despite their brief flowering period I consider them five-star performers in the alpine garden. So happy are mine that they have sometimes put on a second show in August.

Pasqueflower Photo Gallery

There is a pleasing amount of detail in these photos, so I recommend viewing them at full screen on a desktop or Retina display.

Clump of white pasqueflower growing on a green roof
Clump of crimson pasqueflower growing on a green roof
Clump of purple pasqueflower growing on a green roof

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8 thoughts on “PasqueFlowers Looking Stunning this Easter”

    • Hi Ms. Liz!
      Yes they were. Just one of those spur of the moment things too, took a few quick snaps and was blown away when I saw them on my computer! They self-seed really easily too. Makes you wonder why they are so rare in the wild now?

      BTW what do you think of the new website look?

      • Your new website is VERY beautiful Keir, you’ve done a tremendous job! Today when I checked your post the “gallery” photos were nice and big, yesterday they were smaller and couldn’t be enlarged. They’re stunning photos and look marvellous in the large size. FYI your reply didn’t come through in my notifications so I wouldn’t have seen it had I not returned to your post. I should go and check spam of course, haven’t done that. I’m typing this in WP Reader so it’ll be interesting to see if it transfers through to your “core” post. This morning I showed this post to my landscape architect husband and he also loves the crimson pulsatilla. He also looked at your About page and we admired the beautiful garden you’ve developed. Kudos! You’re doing awesome work in both garden and website!

        • Thanks Liz, that’s very kind and helpful feedback. I’ll check my mail settings. Moving away from WordPress.com to self-hosting was more involved than I had imagined, but it gives me freedom to design the site in a way I could never do before. (BTW I’m writing this in admin. We’ll see if you get a notification!)

          • I checked spam but nothing there and your reply didn’t arrive in my notifications. I find this with another NZ blogger that I follow who is also self-hosting. I have to remember to go and check the post to see if there’s been a response!

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