Aubretia helps to hide concrete edging in our front garden.
Stefen Hill, Daventry, 26 March, 2017
Even a cursory glance at the flowers shows that it is a member of the Cabbage Family, Brassicaceae. The four-petalled flowers have a cruciform shape and in older books the Brassicaceae is referred to as the Cruciferae - the cross-bearers. Our garden plant is Aubrieta deltoidea but there are several other species - between 12 and 16 - and it is likely that some cultivated strains have another of these species somewhere in their make up. The genus commemorates a French artist, Claude Aubriet, who tended to specialise in painting flowers. The Aubretia we all know is a native of Greece and other south-east European countries but is very widely naturalised in many parts of the world. It is not uncommon as a garden escape and in Britain there are hundreds of records, usually near to gardens or on waste tips, and it seems particularly frequent in Devon and Somerset.
|A close-up shows the nectar guides, leading insects to their reward.|
There are reddish-purple forms to choose from and in recent years a white variety has become available but I have no intention of growing it; there are plenty of white-flowered crucifers for the rock garden such as the popular Arabis caucasica, but none that I know to compare with the wonderful lilac-blue of our Aubretia.
Aubrieta deltoidea and Arabis caucasica form a popular combination in
a Stafford garden. 27 March, 2017