Pulmonaria ‘Trevi Fountain’ is currently blooming in the garden. Its flowers attract the early carpenter bees, when they aren’t too busy trying to bore holes in the side of our house.
For a long time, I ignored lungworts. They’re from Europe, which to me suggests a plant that probably won’t be happy during our summer, and they are reportedly subject to mildew in hot, humid weather. Indeed, by late spring, the potted plants at local garden centers often look fairly ratty. But a couple of years ago, I ran across Pulmonaria ‘Trevi Fountain’ and was hooked by its beautiful blue flowers and the claim that it is heat tolerant and mildew resistant
Pulmonaria ‘Trevi Fountain’ is a hybrid of Pulmonaria longifolia ‘Bertram Anderson’ and Pulmonaria ‘Marjery Fish’ which is variously listed as either a selection of Pulmonaria vallarsae or a hybrid with P. vallarsae in its background. P. longifolia is from western Europe–Britain south to Spain and Portugal–while P. vallarsae is from Italy. Whatever mix of genes P. ‘Trevi Fountain’ inherited, it adapts well to the North Carolina piedmont.
In my garden, it starts blooming in February and continues into late spring. The leaves wilt in hot sun, but as long as the soil is moist, they perk up again in the evening. As advertised, they do seem to be mildew resistant. I have several plants in parts of the garden where they receive afternoon shade, and the foliage looks pretty good year round. In winter, the leaves collapse and lie flat on the ground, but they nevertheless add interest to barren flower beds when all the bulbs and most of the other perennials are sleeping snug under the mulch. By late January, new leaves start to emerge, and the old foliage dies back. So far, P. ‘Trevi Fountain’ shows no inclination to be invasive in my garden, and it plays well with native woodland species like Arisaema triphyllum, Spigelia marilandica, and Aquilegia canadensis.