Saturday, May 3, 2008

Alliums and Amsonia

I enjoy the spontaneity of some perennials. As I get to know more of their habits, whether they're long-lived, whether they sulk in summer heat and drought, and where they might pop up next, it's fun to watch what's coming back strongly, what's disappeared, and where the new Allium bulbs I planted last fall are popping up. I ordered a variety of spring-flowering Alliums, Tritelea, and Leucojum from Brent and Becky's Bulbs, and popped the large number that I received into various places around the garden. It's a continuing surprise about which ones are flowering and where, as I'm not a very obsessive record-keeper!

Most of the Allium species were chosen because of their attractiveness to bees, and close to 'normal' looking flowers, but a couple have turned out to be rather large, unusual specimens -- definitely not mixers in a border, but needing a distinct spot! This one is Allium christophii, I think. I'll have to find my order list.

A drought-tolerant native perennial in flower now is Bluestar, Amsonia tabernaemontana. It's native to the Eastern U.S., including the Southeast, but is widely grown elsewhere. I ran across a glowing description on a BBC gardening site: "A beautiful plant from the south-east USA that looks particularly good in the front or middle of a border. It is a clump-forming perennial with willowy, dark green leaves and clusters of sky-blue, starry flowers in spring and summer. The gorgeous blue blooms look stunning next to delicate white flowers." But they labelled it for experienced gardeners. Happily for us, it's incredibly adaptable, even though its native habitat is moist woods and banks.

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