Thursday, November 25, 2010

Beautiful Bluets

Now that typical November weather has arrived at the Stonewall Garden, finding a flower in bloom is an exciting event. The bluets have been blooming ever since they were transplanted here in the beginning of May. Most of the flowers have been blue with yellow centers, but some have been white with a yellow center like this one. Anything that will flower here for seven months deserves some attention. It caused me to surround myself with wildflower books to read more about these tiny gems.

In my treasured 1897 copy of How to know the Wildflowers, by Mrs. William Starr
Dana, I learned that bluets are dimorphous. Some flowers have long pistols and short stamens and some have long stamens and short pistols. Both kinds are needed for pollination to occur. Ed remembered this, so when he saw blue flowers and white flowers, he made sure to bring home some of each.

In Growing and Propagating Wildflowers,  by William Cullina, I discovered that the color variation could mean that both Houstonia caerulea and Houstonia longifolia might be planted here in my shade garden.


Whichever they are, these little mounds of green leaves seem to be doing very well. I will look forward to their cheery little flowers early in May. Perhaps they will bloom all summer again next year. I just hope they  become well established here.

In the past I've tried buying bluets without  success. These plants from a friend definitely seem to be the answer. We will know more in the spring.

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