Monday, March 14, 2011

From Little Seeds Come Great Expectations

It has been said that big things come in little packages. This being said, truly seeds are such packages.
I admittedly am a hortiholic. I have plant lust, can have a plantgasm, and truly am excited to get a new plant in my grubby, dirty, little, fat fingered hand. I am a plant slut!

This year I am committing myself ...oh committing myself to two things. One is to work on display areas at my small plant nursery. The other is to grow a productive home garden so I can preserve and give away as much as I truly want. You thought I should be committed?

Allow me to talk a bit about some small flowers that I have recently become intrigued, or re intrigued by. Three plants, Limnanthes, Nemophila, and Neirembergia.

Limnanthes douglasii or Poached Egg Plant is one of those flowers you would like to grow, but you never really see it around. Annie Annuals offers it, but I need flats of it for my displays. It can grow in poor draining soils, clay, and take a fair amount of heat. I have ample water, clay-like soil and lots of heat. That glare and gleam get going. Talk about a good plant to catch the eye. Wikpedia states "It attracts hoverflies to the garden to beat the aphids and is well loved by bees."

Nemophila menziesii 'Pennie Black' & Nemophila menziesii var. atomaria 'Snowstorm' are from native California, the California Baha and can be found into Southern Oregon. It is considered an herb by the reading I have done.  'Pennie Black' is the opposite of Poached Egg in the the way it recessed instead of jumps forward. Its dark purple-black center quivering in the breeze just makes my heart palpitate. Snow storm is the gleamer. Glistening with its radiant purple markings. There are several varieties of Nemophila, but I am trying to just grow the showier ones.
Nemophila maculata 'Five Spot' & Nemophila maculate 'Baby Blue Eyes' are herbaceous, herb-like plants endemic to California. The wonderful potted markings are to attract bees. The female bee collects the pollen where both male and female bee eat o the nectar.
Yes, I do think about bees and am seriously thinking about having a couple of hives out on the property. I also think about the native Mason bee. And am concerned about all these bee populations dying off suddenly. Nemophila seems to be a good source of food as well as pollen and what more could hope for besides the beauty of this great little plant good for both borders and containers.

Used with kind permission of Harris Seeds
Nierembergia 'White Robe' is a nice front of the border plant as well. It would be happy in a rockery or a container, maybe even a hanging basket.
Cupflower, as it commonly known by, is a member of the nightshade family. That usually mean toxic, but also lets me know it will tolerate high heat.
Grow Nierembergia as annuals in USDA zones 3 to 6 and as perennials in zones 7 to 10.
There are purple shades of this darling little flower.
I am staying true with a more white base theme, yellow highlights, smoky black-purples tones. I like unexpected combinations so I am really trying to think about what I personally will mix these flowers with.
I do know I will use them in containers. 'Penny Black' would be a natural with anything lime colored. Limnanthes could go will with shocking pinks, black foliage. Cupflower being white is a natural mixing plant, looking good with blues, limes, blacks, oranges, purples. Too many combinations at times.