Not many Campanulas that we really taking a liking to but this one is distinctly different. Low mounds of scintillating gold foliage become a sea of light purple/blue star shaped flowers in May-June. Part shade to shade with protection from hot sun. Rich, WELL DRAINED soil that is fertile and regular summer water. Apply a handful of organic fertilizer around it in spring- this perks up vigor and ramps up bloom. Striking plant for a shady rock garden or the front of a woodland border. A great combination of colors in one compact plant. To 5″ tall x 1′ wide in a season.
Lobelia ‘Bruce Wakefield’
Years ago, a long time ago our friend and intrepid gardener Bruce Wakefield gave us a piece of this sumptuous, tropical appearing Lobelia. Turns out that Bruce got it from ANOTHER friend of mine. Jackson Muldoon of the now defunct Transpacific nursery found this “lobelia” in central Mexico. Its a cold hardy, vigorous, and long blooming large perennial that displays tubular flowers with an interior of yellow and orange and an exterior of red. To 4′ tall in bloom it spreads stoloniferously underground to form big patches. Give this spreading plant room in full sun and rich soil with regular consistent irrigation. Bloom begins in June and continues sporadically until frost. Loved by hummingbirds and flower arrangers. This is likely no longer a Lobelia and there are several options to choose from, until I am certain we will continue to refer to this as lobelia. Completely winter deciduous with the first hard freeze. Emerges in spring when truly warm weather arrives- Mother’s day. Mulch for the first winter to aid establishment. Once its yours expect a long lived plant. Thank you to our friends Jackson and Bruce. Photo credit: Bob Hyland.
Pratia (Lobelia) pedunculata ‘County Park’
Everyone is familiar with blue star creeper. Well what if one replaced the light blue flowers of that small plant with dark blue stars? You would get this magnificent small scale ground cover. Dense prostrate growth is a veritable pool of deep blue in May and June. Sporadic bloom until late summer. Just 1/2″ high at most it will spread to 1′-2′ in rich, aerated, well drained soil with regular summer water. Best performance is in part shade. Avoid the hottest driest sites. May be used among pavers. Dies out in heavy compacted soils- provide a top dress of compost annually to avoid this. Syn. Isotoma.
Flossflower- this short lived perennial is a wonderful long blooming plant. Umbels of blue flowers rise to 20″ tall. Remove the first set of blooms and it will sprout vigorously from the sides, rows of flowers. Loved by butterflies and pollinators in general. This Mediterranean native has been raised as a cut flower forever, blooming continues to October if you remove spent flowers. They last in a vase for a week or more and deliver a light, sweet fragrance. Freezes to the ground below 20ºF, and is root hardy to about 10ºF. Typical lifespan for an individual plant is 3-5 years but it almost always guarantees seedlings which will sprout in adventitious places. Full sun to very light shade and rich soil with light consistent summer water. It may go very dry and recover from a deep soak. Very easy to grow plant for spectacular effects. Perennials borders, cutting gardens. Hummingbird manna. Forms arching clumps. A distant relative of Campanulas. Rich soil and regular water guarantees a much larger, bloomier plant that will have a longer lifespan.
Trachelium caeruleum ‘Dark Purple’
Florists variety of Flossflower that we think makes a nifty garden plant too. Large rich violet umbels repeat through summer. Remove spent flowers to encourage more. Full sun and rich, well drained soil. Lightly fragrant and a stupendous cut flower. To 30″ tall and 20″ wide. Deep green foliage and black stems are handsome. Short lived perennial- approximately 3-4 years per plant. Freezes to the ground below 20ºF- resprouts from the base if temperatures never drop below about 10ºF. Often self sows in open disturbed sites- even following hellacious winters that compromise the parent plant. Best in rich, soil that drains, double dig the soil to incorporate oxygen into the root zone and allow water to penetrate deeply. Light summer water- extends bloom. If you cut the main bloom on each stem- and it will last for 10+ days in a vase, the sides of the plant will erupt in further bloom and continue to autumn. Loved by butterflies who find an accommodating landing pad and copious amounts of nectar filled flowers. Iberian peninsula and Mediterranean.