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Omphalodes cappadocica

Omphalodes cappadocica 'Starry Eyes' is a real winner in the garden at Hipping Hall in Kirkby Lonsdale, situated on the border of the Yorkshire Dales.

This last winter I pruned the Omphalodes hard back, right to the very base, as a gardening joke, we say to scorch the soil, (cruel to be kind) the plant has responded extremely well. 

In the autumn I had planted bulbs of Allium atropurpureum and Allium 'Purple Sensation' within the clumps of the Omphalodes. The cottage garden style perennial has worked well as a planting combination giving eye-catching ground cover beneath the two species of Alliums.

Previous plantings last summer of Heuchera 'Lime Marmalade' with its lime green foliage has made an interesting plant combination that works well with the Alliums and Omphalodes.

Visitors to Hipping Hall often remark on the similarity in flower of the Omphalodes cappadocica 'Starry Eyes'  to forget-me-nots, and they are very similar at a glance.

The common name Navelwort is a member of the Boraginaceae family. There are up to 30 species of the deciduous/evergreen annuals, biennials and perennials in woodlands and mountains of Europe, North Africa, East Asia and Mexico. Omphalodes grows well in moderately moist fertile soil in part shade.

The bright azure blue flowers of Omphalodes cappadocica 'Starry Eyes' are particularly striking with the white sprayed outlines within each small and delicate flower head. This really is the eye-catching feature that stops the discerning plantsperson in their tracks, and why wouldn't you want to spend a few quiet moments of valuable garden time studying such beauty?

The plant spreads from rhizomes which in turn increases the stocks of clumps each year. Very prominent veins form part of the plant's fine-pointed leaf structure. Even these are worth admiring as one's eyes are drawn away from the colour and formation of the delicate flower heads.

Although this particular species is generally propagated from seed or division, I am setting myself a propagation challenge to take stem cuttings in mid to late summer. The cuttings will be struck into a nice gritty peat-free compost mix, and then initially placed in the cold frame. Gardening after all is about challenges!

Kevin Line Posted by Kevin Line

Kevin works as a Freelance Horticultural Plant Consultant in the south Lake District.

He is a member of Butterfly Conservation and the Cumbria Wildlife Trust, the Hardy Plant Society, the Wildflower Society, and the Botanical Society Of Britain & Ireland. He also writes for the RHS Plant Review (formerly RHS Plantsman), he is currently researching historic plant propagation/ taxonomy for the Gardens Trust ( formerly Garden History Society ).

Kevin had previously worked for three and a half years developing the garden of an Arts & Crafts period Country House Hotel to National Gardens Scheme standard. (South Lakes)

He has also previously worked as Head Gardener in the Cotswolds for over 10 years, prior to that, BBC Gardeners World, and the National Trust.

3 Comments To "Omphalodes cappadocica"

Kevin Line On 24.06.2018
It should also be noted that Alkanet also thrives in open sunny situations too, plus a dry soil. This makes it one of those versatile plants that presents a real gardening challenge. Kevin Line Reply to this comment
Kevin line On 21.06.2018
It will come as no surprise to you that Alkanet like Omphalodes is in the Borage family. I personally really admire Alkanet, however, it is a wild naturalistic plant/flower which needs to be kept under control by pulling out clumps of it. Alkanet grows in hedgerows and waters edges thriving in semi shaded spots in reasonably moist soil. It sounds as though Omphalodes will be well suited to growing in your garden. I have a great interest in wildflowers in hedgerows and constantly spot Alkanet along waters edges. It just tells you how prolific it can be once in the confines of a cultivated area. At Hipping Hall the soil is in the main a free draining loamy soil. Omphalodes does grow in other other raised areas of the garden where the soil is much drier, but its flowering performance is not as impressive. I would try and source some plants for this season to plant, keep well watered to get the roots bedded in for wonderful flowering plants next spring. Happy Gardening, Kevin Reply to this comment
LKL On 18.06.2018
This is in my wishlist. Hoping it like similar conditions to alkanet as my new garden was overrun with the stuff! Reply to this comment
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