Thursday, August 27, 2009

Reverie on a Spring Flower

On this triple-digit day, thoughts of spring (see May Dreams Garden) take me back to one of my favorite flowers, cerinthe.  It has been called the shrimp plant, but that name is so undignified for such a beautiful and graceful form.  Here it is in all its glory.

It is an old-fashioned plant, so only recently coming back into gardens.  The flowers are surrounded by leaves that join in the hurrah of color the flower has. The flower has all the look of being an aberation of the leaves that nestle it.  Its neat, upright habit in the photo above bely the branches' sprawling, haphazard habit.  The treat is that each branch is topped with one of these candy-like, deep-deep purple flowers, as in the photo below.
I try to save seed from the flowers each year.  If they drop before I succeed in doing that, I buy them.  The seed are hard to find, but more nurseries are carrying them.  Often they will self-seed where I least expect it.  But I love these surprises of nature and am each year glad to see them in my spring garden.

5 comments:

bradzio said...

Wow, I've never seen this flower before. It's really beautiful. Thanks for sharing it with us. What kind of conditions does it need to grow?

Beth said...

I love garden art and the way you have shown it, it is my biggest passion. Beth iflorist.co.uk

Red Studio said...

What a lovely blog! Cerinthe peaked my interest when I caught a glimpse in an ocean garden. The flowers remind me of a peacock.

Mary Delle said...

Beth,

I love garden art as well and use many recycled things as well as small statues that fit in my small garden. Put your site URL next you're here so that I can find your site.

theurbanfieldguide said...

I agree with you cerinthe is so beautiful that it's almost otherworldly. I live in Northern California and it seeds in the garden rapidly and even in pretty dry spots. If it's in a dry area it just grows in a very, very tiny form!