Monday, April 2, 2012
Every gardener's had one - that moment you see a plant that's irresistible even though there's no room for it, it's probably going to freeze dead its first winter, it's exotic and you now have a native plants only policy, or some other perfectly good argument that is somehow easily dismissed until you get past the check out area and are on your way home with the plant. Of course, we have the willpower of an addict when presented with our drug of choice.
I experienced such a moment last summer when I stumbled upon some fairly pitiful 6 foot tall trees that were labeled Bauhinia mexicana and priced at a mere $5. They had seriously outgrown their nursery pots, likely had circling roots, definitely had yellowing leaves, BUT they were only $5 and they were supposed to bloom pink! How could I not? My garden is already home to four other Bauhinias, all with fairly small but lovely white flowers. Needless to say, within an hour my guilty pleasure had been lovingly and hopefully planted near its family members.
Yesterday I experienced another kind of moment - the one every gardener lives for. I was taking pictures of the rose campion (Lychnis coronaria) in bloom. This in itself was "a moment", as I love this plant but never had any success until the tiny transplants received from Jenny at Rock Rose established themselves over the winter and only yesterday popped into bloom. As my family says this time of year, that would have been enough.
But then, oh my. I turned around and literally gasped. That pitiful specimen purchased last summer had produced this ...
Four inches across and spectacular, with many more buds poised to stun me again with beauty. Now I know for certain why Bauhinia is called the "orchid tree". And I'm unrepentant for my impulse buy in spite of all the reasons against it. Yes, the tree may freeze next winter, I may not have rid it of all the circling roots, it was probably mislabeled, and it's not a native - but just look at that flower.
Definitely worth the $5, wouldn't you say?