Cardamine pratensis (Lady's Smock)

Full Sun
Soil Type:
Most Types
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Plant Overview

A British native wildflower found in meadows and verges. It grows happily in amongst grass and other meadow plants, in most soil types, including very wet. Like most native plants, it is very useful for our native pollinators.

Height and Spread: 45cm x 25cm.

Common names: Cookoo Flower; Lady's Smock; Milkmaid; Bog Spink; Naked Ladies; Pink Folly; Spring Cress; Bread and Milk; Cuckoos Shoes and Stockings; Naked Ladies; Lonesome Lady; Lucy Locket; Milk Girls; Smick Smock.

Myth and Legend

The flowers, when seen at a distance in the meadows, were said to resemble linen left out to whiten on the grass, 'when maidens bleach their summer smocks'. The name of 'cuckoo flower' comes from the traditional belief that the plant will be in flower throughout the period when the cuckoo can be heard.

This is traditionally a plant associated with faeries. It may be because of this that it is not always considered to be a terribly lucky plant. For ladies' smocks to be included in the garlands carried on May Day would be disastrous, and the whole garland would have to be split apart and remade. It was beleived that ladies' smocks should never be taken into the house, as it would bring bad luck for the whole household.









Photo: Jac. Janssen from Baarlo lb, NL, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

All our plants are supplied in 9cm pots unless otherwise specified. Plants in this size pot establish quickly in the garden and often outpace plants in bigger pots planted at the same time. Our potted plants can be planted immediately, unless otherwise noted, or you can leave them in their pots until you are ready to plant.
The majority of our plants are grown outdoors. This means that they follow their natural growth patterns and are ready to plant at any time of the year. If you order the plants in winter, they are likely to be dormant and died back to ground level, ready to shoot again in spring - just like the herbaceous perennials in your own garden. Very occasionally, in winter, we may indicate on the packing slip that a plant needs to be hardened off before planting out. This will be because it has just come out of a polytunnel. If you have any questions about our plants or growing methods, please feel free to drop us an email.
We grow most of what we sell ourselves, in our nursery in the Buckinghamshire countryside. Our prices include VAT at 20%.