Wednesday, July 6, 2011

When the Seeds Don't Germinate

It was back in 2008, while visiting a nearby nursery that I found this cute little old fashioned flower. Without even a hint at botanical nomenclature, the salesman blurted, "Poor Man's Orchid." [Impatiens balfouri] At $2.25 for a four-inch pot, I thought, why not? It required shade, check. It would get tall, check. It would bloom 'til frost, check. What I didn't realize at the time was that it would also reseed! 2009 was a bumper year, with Orchid offspring filling my courtyard. Ditto for 2010. Then at the dawn of 2011, with an unseasonably warm January, baby Orchids did their thing, sprouting up all over the place, full of promise. Until February when frost made mush out of them. And that, my dear friends, was the end of the saga. Not one seedling in spring. Nothing. Nada.   

 A few days ago, Carol and I went back to said nursery and I scored another four-incher for my courtyard, [above]. Barring another fluke in the weather [I'm not holding my breath], I'll have a courtyard full again next year.

 Don't you just love this time of year in the garden? Every day it's something new. Above is my Galega officinalis 'Lady Wilson.' Looks an awful lot like a Lupine, doesn't it?

 My Abutilon 'Nabob' overwintered successfully and is about to bloom. This photo is from last year.

 This is Agastache 'Red Fortune.' 

 My tall Alstromeria is blooming. 

 Carpenteria 'Elizabeth' just finished up its blossoming. 

 This sweet little Dahlia has overwintered again. Every year I worry that I'll lose it but don't have the nerve to dig it up and overwinter it inside. I think it's proven itself. I think I can relax now. Maybe. Actually it's all a big crap shoot and I scored with this one.

23 comments:

FlowerLady said...

I have never seen your poor man's orchid before and it is certainly sweet. How nice that it reseeds for you too. All of your blooms are wonderful. All different and luscious colors.

Happy Summer Gardening ~ FlowerLady

Sissy said...

***sigh****
I don't think we could overwinter a single one of those, here! Thank you for posting yours, Grace, they are stunning!

Gail said...

Grace, "Actually it's all a big crap shoot..." Truer words could not be spoken about gardening in general. I've not had luck getting Impatiens balfouri started...But, it's surely charming. Your garden blooms all look wonderful. gail

HolleyGarden said...

What a cute dahlia! I hope your new 'poor man's orchid' (never heard that term) reseeds everywhere you want it to! Nice blooms.

Janet, The Queen of Seaford said...

Eh, what the hell, life is a crap shoot. :-D
Love your winners....all of them. I had not heard of Carpenteria before. What a fun name.

scottweberpdx said...

That is so funny, Grace. I first saw those Impatiens growing in the front garden at Portland Nursery last fall...I asked about them and was told they couldn't sell them because they were such a pest. Of course, that just made me more determined! I finally had a friend in San Fran bring me a seedling this spring...and it's doing fabulous, just now starting to bud...can't wait for all the (hopefully) seedlings next year!

Aerie-el said...

Gorgeous photos of all those winning blossoms. Yes, absolutely, 'Lady Wilson' flowers look very much like a Lupine! And your shot of the Abutilon bloom is incredible. Wow.

Gatsbys Gardens said...

Oh to live in a zone where you can grow houseplants outside! I am with you through our winters and spring and then I see plants sprouting in your garden that wouldn't have a chance here. Will I ever understand the zones?

Eileen

Wife, Mother, Gardener said...

Thanks for all of the great introductions! At least I do not have to deliberate whether to store my dahlias over winter in zone 5... small thanks, though I am filled with plant envy :)

The Garden Ms. S said...

I love your 'Lady Wilson'! Vertical plants provide such great contrast and structure to a perennial bed. I always like to work a few in. And this one is sweet! :)

Alison said...

I want an Abutilon, but overwintering it is a challenge for me. I seem to end up killing things when I bring them inside. The Galega is very pretty, I wonder if it comes in red or pink -- Hmmm, I guess if it did, you would have it, wouldn't you? I hope my Dahlias start blooming soon.

kimmie said...

I love it when something lovely re- seeds itself like that .... But how sad that our late frost did such a number on it! Your little dahlia is precious .... We leave all of ours in the ground ... It's just so much work to dig them out for overwintering ...


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Darla said...

You intorduce the coolest plants to us Grace. I love the Lady Wilson. Hopefully my Agastache will look something like yours next year, new to me this year.

Kathleen said...

I hope you get those orchids to reseed everywhere again ~ they're incredible. Your garden is chock full of beautiful plants Grace. It makes me want to dig up more of my grass and keep adding. I think I'm done for this year tho ~ my back is complaining too much!

ricki 'sprig to twig' said...

Now I know for sure that 'Elizabeth' has decided to skip this year for blooming...a crap shoot, indeed. She looks healthy, though...maybe next year.

bakingbarb said...

It's interesting how we come to rely on a plant to always be there and then along comes Mother Nature with other plans! I need to get out more, you have plants I don't know! I have not heard of Galega officinalis 'Lady Wilson'!
All so pretty.

linda said...

Ooooh...I like that' Lady Wilson'
I'm hedging my bets this year with Dahlia's !/2 in the ground, the other in pots...see how they go.

Kim and Victoria said...

That's a lovely orchid, it could re-seed all over my yard, too. Great flower selection!

Muddy Boot Dreams said...

I had to laugh, because the "Poor Man's Orchid" brings back so many memories of the garden center. Herman, a greenhouse worker hated those with a passion, and in his incredibly thick German accent used to denounce them all the time.

"VEEEEDDSS, darn VEEEEDS", they should be BURRRVVVNNNEEED. EVY LASSSST VVVVOOOON OF DEM.

Apparently he felt that they were invasive, and yes, they did take over most of the spare property out back of the green house. They loved the soggy ground.

I have seen some news articles on how they are choking out the native species in local ditches.

But contained, they are lovely, and very hardy, my Aunt had one growing in Edmonton, Alberta, and it's cold there.

Loved all of your shots, especially the Hibiscus, oh swoon.

Jen @ Muddy Boot Dreams

bakingbarb said...

I come back every day to look at these flowers! I am loving this post.

Corner Gardener Sue said...

I don't know if I've seen those first ones before. I hope they reseed and survive next year. That second plant does look like lupines. Lovely! The third flower reminds me of a hellebore. I love that agastache! Its blooms are fuller than most.

Thanks for your nice comment about how cool it's going to look when some of my plants bloom together, and for letting me know you don't thin your kiss me's.

Wendy said...

beautiful blooms! I like that agastache - I have a pretty pitiful "purple pygmy" (excuse the alliteration.

Jess said...

I wonder if that thing that looks like lupines will grow here... lupines won't but I wish they did. On the Dahlias.... my Mom is in 7a, and for 20 years she had dahlias come up and multiply. Like crazy. She never dug them. Even though they were totally, totally not hardy there, theoretically. 2 winters ago with the big hard cold winter the east coast had, she lost every single one permanently, probably 30 different ones. But, she basically saw it as a chance to grow all new varietals. She was on ebay buying some rare kinds just yesterday. So, I'm with you. Don't worry about it.