Tuesday, July 25, 2017

A Promise Kept

Some of our plants are here for only a short period of time.  Many of the missing are gone as a result of their inability to deal with the harshness of  our natural conditions.  Late hard frosts create huge problems for many plants.  Our deep gravely soil and frequent lack of rainfall takes those that cannot handle periods of little moisture.  Other plants persist here no matter what.

Cardinal flower has been with us for ages because we fuss over it. This is a plant that grew on this continent before the arrival of the European explorers.  Since it is a native plant, we feel obligated to not only keep it alive but try to place it so that natural growth will insure its survival.  So far we have only managed to keep it alive in the garden and that fact is a puzzle.

This plant naturally occurs near water. Most sources tell us it will grow in a garden placement but will not reproduce from seed in a rather dry location.  We have placed it near our pond but the grasses that grow there simply overpowered it.  Last fall seed was sprinkled liberally around our strongest spring run but no Cardinal flower plants have appeared there yet.  We still hold hope for those seeds since sometimes with native perennials  a number of winters are necessary for seeds to germinate.

For the moment we are thrilled just to see the intense red coloration that even the buds display.  Soon the flowers will open and hummingbirds will be drawn by the color to feed there.  We see this as the best red to appear in our gardens.  Its presence does signal the slow roll of the seasons away from summer but these flowers will remain in bloom for several weeks.  Many great days of life in the garden are ahead of us.  The appearance of these flowers signal us not to waste a single day.


Indie said...

I love cardinal flower. So beautiful! I do wonder at its lack of growing naturally from seed. Maybe we just have so many invasive plants now that everything is choking this lovely flower out. I should try spreading cardinal flower seed in my boggy detention pond and see if anything comes up. It would be much better than the invasive purple lobelia that I am constantly fighting.

Beth @ PlantPostings said...

Well, I must say I'm very jealous. I know how much hummingbirds love Cardinal Flower, but the red Lobelia wasn't quite right for my garden. So, I planted Great Blue Lobelia this year. Unfortunately, it was recently chomped to the ground by the resident baby rabbits. I have a terribly unbalanced ecosystem here--just wild enough for rabbits, squirrels, and chipmunks, but not enough to keep their numbers in check. Fencing and lava rocks help, but they didn't deter the little critters from eating the Lobelia (or several other native plants). So, sadly, I will be planting only Alliums and other rabbit-repellent plants in that spot from now on. If the native plants come back next year, they'll be surrounded by Alliums. Enjoy the Cardinal Flower! It's a beauty!