Friday, May 16, 2008

Economical Plants Allow Experimentation

Dodecatheon meadia

Sometimes we chose a good plant but a poor place to plant it. It's nice to be able to put plants in a few different places to see how they will do, but that's difficult when the plants cost several (or even a score or two) dollars each. Bulb dealers often have good deals on plants we might otherwise think of as perennials. Pictured above is shooting star (Dodecatheon meadia) which I bought a couple of years ago from a bulb dealer for just a bit more than a dollar each. At that price I was comfortable buying enough plants to try them in several places. As expected they dwindled away in at least one spot. If I had purchased only a few and happened to put them in the unsuccessful spot I might have concluded that I just couldn't grow shooting star. (By the way, the recent edition of Rock Garden Quarterly includes a very convincing argument for why Dodecatheon is more properly in the genus Primula.
Another bulb dealer bargain I got a few years ago was gayfeather (Liatris spicata) for $.35 each.
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