I have been looking for an Astrantia for a while now. I'm not the type of gardener who is after the latest cultivar or the Chelsea favourite. I prefer species types or plants that are not widely available.
I found my Astrantia at a favourite haunt of mine, although slightly unconventional in gardening terms. An art gallery in Carmarthen. The two ladies who run the art and craft supplies floor of the gallery propagate their own plants and they always have a different selection available.
I had never heard of Astrantia bavarica before and although superficially it is the same as Astrantia major I have been informed that it is in fact a seperate species and as the name suggests originating from Bavaria.
The small plant cost me 75p which, when talking Astantia's, is a steal to say the least. I think every Astrantia I've seen recently is around the £5 mark and as I'm a complete cheapskate I couldn't possibly justify that! I snapped it up rather quickly and I'm rather chuffed to have it in my collection.
I've placed the Astrantia next to my half barrel pond (http://ryans-garden.blogspot.com/2009/05/half-barrel-ponds-are-great-for-small.html) where it has room to grow and plenty of wildlife to enjoy it.
Astrantia's enjoy full to part sun with moist rich soil. They are great in woodland or riverbank settings and are pretty tolerant of all conditions when established. As the half barrel garden has a wildlife area feel to it I thought that this Astrantia would benefit from the dappled light that the Viburnum casts and the cool, moist soil.
The plant is a gem to photograph and I will be hanging some of my images in my house very soon.