Thursday, April 5, 2012

Mountain laurel in flower

In front of the house today, I was cheered to see one of our mountain laurels (Kalmia latifolia) in full flower and looking quite robust. 

Dashing off (to check on whether frogs were calling in the Garden ponds), I didn't manage a photo, but my gardening companion's image from his book Wildflowers and Plant Communities of the Southern Appalachian Mountains & Piedmont (phooey, it's pink, not the clear white color of our plant in front), suggests its attractiveness.

Kalmia latifolia (photo by Tim Spira)
Mountain laurels aren't easy plants to grow -- they require perfect drainage and a site not too sunny and not too shaded.  Not an easy combination in most Piedmont US gardens -- and getting the right genotypes are key, too. 

We need to grow plants of Southeastern Piedmont heritage, not Kalmia latifolia from higher elevation mountain sites, or farther northern genotypes, for successful establishment.

The plant near our front steps came from a locally-grown source, and so far, looks great!

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