Recently I found a few tiny bells hiding amongst my Pig’s Ears.
That is an odd statement-let me explain.
Pig’s Ears or Cotyledon orbiculata are hardy succulents from South Africa. As expected the leaves resemble pig’s ears. It’s an unpleasant name for a plant with pretty bell shaped flowers in a coral shade.
Oh, how I adore bell shaped flowers.
I rather like Pig’s Ears for another reason, they add interest in the deeply shaded sections of the garden. This is because Pig’s Ears have grey leaves. Lighter colours like grey and white helps to visually break the shadows up by giving the eye something to focus on in the dimness. This creates a sense of depth in shade and I am very grateful to Pig Ear’s because I have a lot of shade in my garden.
Pig’s Ears grow well in hot, barren regions because they are covered with a white powdery substance which assists the plant to reflect sunlight and therefore conserve water. This is a great adaptation for plantings in full sunlight but it isn’t particularly helpful for my Pig’s Ears growing in shade. They struggle, and until recently had never flowered.
Therefore I was delighted when I came across a few precious coral bells, nearly obscured amongst the plump grey leaves.
I’m not alone in my love of bell shaped flowers, why do they charm us?
Perhaps we marvel at their diminutive elegance and dainty fragility. Or is it because the bell shape is not a common flower shape; the elusive and exotic is always enticing. Maybe we love them simply because we relate the flowers’ shape to a familiar object, the bell.
I love the bells for all these reasons. Here are some bells on Pig’s Ears chiming in my garden.