Sunday, May 6, 2012

Three's company

For Macro Monday hosted by Lisa's Chaos, here is a trio of Eastern U.S. native plants in bloom in my garden now.  Above is Iris virginica.  I have three different iris in my garden that were sold to me under the name Iris virginica that are all notably different, a short one with purple/blue flowers, a tall one with similar blue flowers, and a tall one with white flowers.  I think the shorter one could be Iris virginica var. shrevei.  I think that one is the neatest and most well behaved but they all are quite nice.  I like the blue flowers better than the white.  I would not have chosen the white, but sometimes when you buy plants sold by local garden or wildflower clubs (as I like to do) the labeling is a bit lacking.  It's a great way to get interesting new plants, though, especially natives.
The second photo is an Erigeron species, perhaps Erigeron pulchellus, Robin plaintain, or else Erigeron philadelphicus, Philadelphia fleabane.  I favor the second option because it amuses me to imagine Elton John singing "Philadelphia Fleabane, shine on me!"  That just doesn't work with "Robin plantain", but I suppose I should try harder to find out which one it really is.  This plant just popped up in my garden a few years ago and has stayed and gotten more and more attractive.  I feel honored to have a genuine native wildflower (as opposed to dandelions) feel at home in my garden.

The third photo is Amsonia tabernaemontana, Bluestar.  Many of the natives in my garden don't exactly wow me when out of bloom but this is an exception.  The medium narrow leaves are attractive right through the heat of summer and never wilt even when it hasn't rained for weeks.  On the other hand, I have heard great things about the fall foliage color but I don't really see it.  Perhaps this individual is in too much shade or doesn't have the showy fall genes.  Or maybe the fall color is really only appropriate to its cousin, Amsonia hubrichtii, which has much narrower leaves that I definitely have seen turn banana yellow in the fall.  I like bluestar a lot but the light blue flowers haven't grabbed my attention in previous years.  They are blooming especially prolifically this year, however, and not just in my garden.  When the plant is covered in blooms it is indeed very showy.   I like the ice blue color against the nearly black shaded background in this photo, but to be a real garden standout, I think I need to give my bluestar some blooming companions.  I think the color would look very nice with the blue iris shown above.  A grouping of these three plants in a partly shaded spot would be a very nice native midspring threesome, I think.  In fact, I just found a baby Erigeron at the parent's feet, so now all I need to do is find a patch of empty space in the garden...