Isn’t She Pretty in Pink? A Peek at a Few of June’s Blushing Young Beauties: Mountain Laurel, Lupine, Indigofera, and More…

June 16th, 2010 § 4 comments § permalink

Kalmia latifolia ‘Pink Charm’ with Sambucus racemosa ‘Sutherland’s Gold’ and Physocarpus opulifolius ‘Summer Wine’ in the background, and Rudbeckia hirta and Miscanthus in the foreground… Garden Design and Photo © Michaela at TGE

Kalmia latifolia ‘Pink Charm’ – Photo © Michaela at TGE

Kalmia latifolia ‘Pink Charm’ in the Entry Garden – Design and Photo © 2010 Michaela at TGE

There’s something of a pink-fizzy-explosion going on in the main entrance to my garden right now. From bashful blush and shocking rose, to coral, crimson, and pale petal; the garden is looking very pretty in pink. At this time of the year, my wildflower walkway is filled with the lighter shades of red, including two-tone-pink lupine, pale penstemon and other cerise colored flowers. This spring, the wild roses have really taken off, clamoring over the big ledges, and spilling out from the juniper edging into the gravel path. But the reigning queen of the moment in the entry garden is Kalmia latifolia ‘Pink Charm’; a gorgeous pink selection of our native mountain laurel. I am very fond of Kalmia, and I grow both the native and various cultivars. Mountain laurel has developed a reputation for being a somewhat tricky plant to grow, but I have had great success with the genus. In my experience, proper siting and soil are key to pleasing this beautiful, native evergreen. For more information on Kalmia latifolia, including how and where to grow and use this plant in the garden, travel back to last year’s post on Mountain Laurel here.

Indigofera kirilowii on the terrace edge. Photo © Michaela at TGE

And on the northwestern side of my garden, Indigofera kirilowii -which I also posted about last summer in an article linked here- is producing an outrageously romantic display at the edge of the terrace. This gorgeous small shrub is literally covered with lilac-pink panicles, spilling in dramatic fashion on to the thyme-laced stone at her feet. Indigofera is putting on her show earlier this year, as are many other plants in my garden. What’s the hurry ladies? We have all summer. Why not slow down and stick around awhile?

Still, in spite of the early rush to bloom, I must say I am loving the profusion. When my garden gets to blushing like this, I can’t help but think of girlish things like prom dresses and bridal showers. I suppose it’s just that time  of the year  – when everything is pretty in pink….

A closeup of our native North American mountain laurel, Kalmia latifolia, in bloom. Photo © Michaela at TGE

A natural wonder, smothered in blooms – Kalmia latifolia – native mountain laurel. Photo © Michaela at TGE

Lupine put on a reliable yearly display in the wildflower walk. Photo © Michaela at TGE

Lupine hybrid – Bicolor pink in the Wild Flower Walk – Entry Garden Design and Photo © 2010 Michaela TGE

A wild rose in the entry garden – Photo © Michaela at TGE

Budding Beauty – Photo © Michaela at TGE

Pretty in Pink in the Rain – Photo © Michaela at TGE

Seashell Pink Colored Coral Bell Blossoms (Heuchera sanguinea) Dance in the Morning Breeze. Photo © Michaela at TGE

Lavender-pink Indigofera kirilowii edges the north facing terrace, planted here with wooly thyme. Photo © Michaela at TGE

You know I was thinking about it when I typed the words. I had to pull out the Molly Ringwald for this post…

Pretty in Pink Molly Ringwald

Pretty in Pink on DVD

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Article and photographs © 2010 Michaela at The Gardener’s Eden

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Romancing the Garden: Indigofera…

July 13th, 2009 § 1 comment § permalink

indigofera 2Indigofera kirilowii, laden with raindrops

Poetic. Indigofera absolutely glows in the damp, darkness of rainy days and the shadowy, low light of early mornings and late afternoons. This is a romantic flower; reminiscent of castle-bound heroines and hidden, walled gardens. The weeping form and cascading flowers create a slightly wistful, but classically beautiful presence. Although the habit of this little-known Asian shrub is quiet different, the long, lavender panicles of indigofera blossoms remind me a bit of wisteria. And the hue of this gorgeous flower, slightly rosier than wisteria, positively sings against rusty metal, stone and darkened wood. Striking combinations with physocarpus ‘Diablo’, (or ‘Summer Wine)’, and other burgundy-hued, foliage plants immediately spring to mind. Clearly, I have developed quite a fondness for this woody plant over the past few years. When I first sited indigofera on my windy hilltop, I was uncertain that it would survive the brutal winters here. But survive it has, proving tough as nails in spite of its delicate appearance.

At 3-5 feet high, indigofera is a small, colony-forming shrub, (or a woody, herbaceous perennial in very cold climates, where it can be cut back to the ground in spring). It is rugged and undemanding, (hardy in zones 4-8), adapting to a wide variety of soil types and conditions. In spite of its sturdy constitution, it is also well-mannered and non-aggressive in the garden. Indigofera is beautiful in many design situations; as an accent or solitary specimen, in groupings, or even as a high-ground-cover. The attractive, bright green foliage, long bloom time, (late June – July here in Vermont), and unusual color makes indigofera an excellent choice for perennial gardens and mixed borders. Although this beauty can stand a bit of shade, to encourage the strongest growth, and maximum bloom, position indigofera in full sun, and give it well drained soil amended with good compost.

Because it is relatively uncommon, indigofera may be hard to find in some areas. But like most treasures, this one is truly worth seeking out.

indigoferaIndigofera blooms, as seen from above…

indigofera 4Indigofera, (two year old specimen at Ferncliff)

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Article and photographs copyright 2009 Michaela at The Gardener’s Eden

All content on this site, (with noted exceptions), is the property of The Gardener’s Eden and may not be used or reproduced without prior written consent. Inspired by something you see here? Great! Please give credit where credit is due. It’s a small world and link-love makes for fond friendships. Stealing makes for bad dreams…

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