This is of course of the same genus as Sweet Peas (Lathyrus odoratus), but is not an annual like them, but a full herbaceous perennial, and a particularly useful one in that it flowers long before most perennials have got going at all. There is a f. albus which has white flowers, but apart from that, the species has only this one variety. It is a low-growing, bushy plant with long, narrow leaves and these lovely pink and white flowers, which are like those of a vetch. (The common name for the species is Spring Vetchling). The flowers are produced in clusters at the tips of wiry stems set against the foliage. Ideally they need a rich but well-drained site, and although said to require full sun, seem perfectly happy in more than partial shade here. It should continue to flower from now until at least mid June. Not scented. It should be very suitable for a border, between other herbaceous perennials that will spread to fill the gap left by it when it dies down soon after flowering. But we grow it on a bank as ground cover which it is effective for. That’s Brunnera macrophylla ‘Jack Frost’ behind it, which I shall probably move, because although it is magnificent it looks wrong here I think.
The bank it is growing on here, is at the edge of our bog garden, and it’s growing next to a patch of Tiarella cordifolia. This is quite unlike the more usual Tiarellas, in that it is vigorous and rhizomatous and spreads by stolons, almost producing the effect of “chains” of its pale green leaves. Tiarellas are called Foam flower, though that name properly applies only to this distinctive variety. The flowers should continue about as long as the Lathyrus ones. It is a good woodland groundcover. I didn’t notice the two spanish bluebells until I saw them in the photograph. They are no more!