Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Monday, December 22, 2014

My Most Recent Favorite Plant

Pseudofumaria alba on 11 September 2013
Pseudofumaria alba seedlings from the above plant on 2 May 2014
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I am fascinated by my two growing seasons experience with Corydalis ochroleuca, or apparently more correctly Pseudofumaria alba, or I could improvise a common name like White Rock Fumewort. Anyway, as my common name suggests, they are known for growing on cliffs and rock outcroppings, but now are also known in Europe as an escapee of cultivation on walls. I am advised by the literature to regularly deadhead my plants in order to extend the bloom time through the spring and into the summer. They are said to be hardy to -13 degrees Fahrenheit.

None of that corresponds with my experience. I bought the three plants in the spring of 2013 from Digging Dog Nursery and planted them in a slightly raised bed near but not in a rockery. They grew well and bloomed abundantly from late July through September and probably until they were frozen in October. In the spring of 2014 following a winter with minimum temperatures that may have approached -13 degrees Fahrenheit, the three original plants were dead. As the spring progressed I noticed seedlings that looked like they were from my Fumewort, so I moved some around and protected the others. By the end of the summer they were gorgeous full-grown plants. As I write this on 22 October they are still in full bloom, and they have been blooming since about the end of August, as I vaguely recall. I didn't get around to photographing them until 10 September.

Now I have three locations, all close-by each other where I am growing the plant. One of the spots is a heavy clay overlain with an inch or so of rotted organic matter. The other two are in rich, fairly well drained garden soil. None has found its way to the rockery all around them.

So I await the results of their second winter and spring. Perhaps these will perform every year as non-hardy self sowing perennials. If so, that is fine with me because they quickly grow from seed into wonderful garden plants in one summer. When I have a successful experience with a plant that is so contrary to what I am led to expect from my readings I am always fascinated, and when the results are so gratifying I am especially so.