Saturday, December 31, 2011

Perenial Self-Sowers

Perenial Self-Sowers...When I first saw the title on the magazine page, I didn't know what it meant, but a self sowing plant? What's wrong with that! We usually have to buy more plants if we want more, but one that supplies lots more for free? So, I read on, and on. Since then I have been checking more of them. These are a few of my favorites so far... You can add some more if you'd like.

Belamcanda chinensis

Known as the Blackberry Lily or Leopard Lily, it's truly unique in the garden.
The blooms look like lilies, but this plant is in the Iris family.
Consider the humble Blackberry Lily for your sunny to partly shaded borders. Too seldom seen in American gardens, it features the foliage of an Iris, the blooms of a Lily, and the fruit of a blackberry (sort of!). Long-blooming and very easy to grow, it is a fine addition to any planting, resembling nothing else around it yet very lovely in its own right.
The flowers arise in midsummer and continue well into fall in most areas. They are followed by plump seedpods that split open to reveal glossy, round black fruits, the "blackberries" of the common name. (Needless to say, do NOT eat them!) They're interesting and quite ornamental, adding another season to this perennial's beauty.
Give Belamcanda full sun to light shade in any well-drained soil, including rocky or clay ones. It will reach 2 to 3 feet high and up to about 18 inches wide. Zones 5-10.

Anchusa azurea 'Loddon Royalist'


Deep purple blue flowers in early summer. Bushy habit make this variety ideal for garden borders and mass plantings. Early blooming and extremely long blooming time for any perennialStriking and long-lasting flowers defiantly make a statement as a sunny border plant and does not need staking. The flowers are attractive to bees, too.
Zone 6-8
Common Rue
This herb is so good that it gave its name to the actress Rue McClanahan and a magical mixture of butter and flour used to make gumbo. Its clusters of pale yellow flowers  that bloom in mid summer are just a bonus. Common rue is a favorite of swallowtail-butterfly larvae, whcih is a giant plus. A giant minus is that the plant's sap, when combined with the sun's rays, can cause rashes and even blisters. Common rue's offspring are easy to identify by sight and smell.
Perennial Flax
Easily grown in average, medium, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Prefers light soils in full sun. Tends to root shallowly in heavy clay soils resulting in increased winter survival problems. Easily grown from seed (some plants may flower the first year). Freely self-seeds in optimum growing conditions. Cut some stems back by 1/2 mid-way through the bloom period to extend flowering. Tolerates heat, humidity and drought.

Perennial flax is a short-lived, tufted perennial which typically grows 1-2' tall. Features 5-petaled, sky blue flowers which open for only one day. A profuse bloomer for a period of up to 8 weeks in late spring. Flowers open early on sunny mornings, but petals usually drop by late afternoon. Thin, wiry stems with short, narrow, linear leaves (to 1" long) support profuse numbers of nodding flower buds. Fibrous stems appear delicate, but are extremely difficult to break and were once used in Europe to make linen and rope. The flax plants which are commercially grown today for making linen (from the stems) and linseed oil (from the seeds) are several varieties of annual flax, Linum usitatissimum.
Flax looks best when massed. Effective in rock gardens, border fronts, meadows, wild gardens or informal naturalized plantings. Also a colorful addition to an herb garden.

Cup Plant
This native perennial plant is about 4-10' tall and remains unbranched, except for the panicle of flowering stems near the apex. The central stem is thick, hairless, and four-sided. The large opposite leaves are up to 8" long and 5" across, which join together around the central stem to form a cup that can hold water, hence the name of the plant. These leaves are broadly lanceolate to cordate, coarsely toothed, and have a rough, sandpapery texture. The yellow composite flowers bloom during early to mid-summer for about 1-1½ months. Each sunflower-like composite flower is about 3-4" across, consisting of numerous yellow disk florets that are surrounded by 18-40 yellow or pale yellow ray florets. The root system consists of a central taproot, and abundant shallow rhizomes that help to spread the plant vegetatively, often forming substantial colonies.
The preference is full or partial sun, and moist loamy soil. This plant may drop some of its lower leaves in response to a drought. Sometimes, the leaves and buds of distressed plants turn brown, growth becomes stunted, and blossums abort in response to disease or drought. Another problem is that Cup Plant may topple over during a rainstorm with strong winds, particularly while it is blooming, or situated on a slope.

Mountain Bluet
Mountain bluet is an excellent choice for the border or rock garden. Blue flowers open from attractive buds in late spring to midsummer, then leave behind a mass of vigorous, silvery-green woolly foliage and woolly stems.
Grow in moist soil in sun or partial shade. Easy to divide in fall if it begins to crowd its neighbors. Self-seeds readily. May need staking.
Divide in the fall.

Chocolate Daisy
The "Chocolate Fragrance Award" goes to the Chocolate Scented Daisy (Berlandiera lyrata), a quarter-size, vibrant, yellow daisy with striking red striped undersides and chocolate-colored stamens.
A small plant with an airy habit, Chocolate Scented Daisy (sometimes called Chocolate Flower) makes a nice, informal edging plant, and is most impressive and most fragrant when planted in groups.

1 comment:

  1. You've got my interest with the last two you featured :) Great ideas!