Wednesday, May 24, 2017
If there is a more brazenly beautiful native flower, I have yet to see it. Thrusting their sexual parts far from the flower is relatively common to entice pollination but the addition of color and fragrance makes this presentation unique. The single pollen receptor extends beyond five pollen producers and is tipped with white attracting liquid. We have yet to see a pollinator in action on these flowers but each year some seed pods are produced. Our first Pinxter from seed has yet to appear but we remain hopeful.
Placing these plants near a field stone wall was no accident. We find that the soil at the base of a stone wall remains moist even when rainfall is scant. In the wild, we find these plants growing above but close by wet ground. The contrast of the dull solid stone and the vibrant pink of the flowers is spectacular.
Last winter presented many difficult situations but non hit us harder than a deer feeding on this treasured plant. Pinxter growth is unusual in that all of the action happens at the tips of the branches. Bare branches are crowned with flowers and leaves while most of the branch remains void of growth. We expected that the deer damage might severely impact the plant. As it turns out the pruned tips are causing new growth to appear lower on the stems. This new growth might have been suitable material for heel cuttings intending to grow new plants. Now it appears doubtful that I have what it takes to put blade to branch in search of new plants. It is most likely that this plant will be allowed to repair itself unmolested.
Our other Pinxter went unnoticed by the marauding deer. Wire cages were scattered about in front of this bush and that may have kept the deer at bay. This fall we will intentionally surround these plants with wire protection. For now we have the promise of an abundance of sweet flowers in the coming days. This will give us many chances to try and identify and describe the components of this perfume. In contrast to the visual boldness of these flowers, their scent remains subtle. It carries on the breeze close by the plant but defies description. Some have reported that the scent of these flowers brings to mind the comfort smell of baking bread. That it does but there is also an understated presence of some spice. We must walk near to these flowers every time that we move from the garden to the house. It goes without saying that nearly every such trip includes a pleasant pause to take in more of this exotic scent.