NEW Trips to Take!

Myrtle's easy when the conditions are right.

 
 
 
 

NEW Plants to Try!

Louis tries to capture the exact words to describe the fleeting but deep pleasures to be found in these Summer-into-Autumn incredibles.

 
 
 
 

New Gardening to Do!

Allergic to bees? You can still have an exciting garden, full of flowers and color and wildlife.

 
 
 
 

A Gardening Journal

Today in the Garden of a Lifetime: Umbrella Plant in Bloom

Spring is the peak season for astonishing plants that, literally, pop up. Here is a bloom spike of umbrella plant, about twenty inches tall and topped with a cluster of pink flowers six inches across. Each Spring it emerges from the colony's thick rhizomes weeks before the leaves and, at the height of a season where new excitements reveal themselves almost daily, can be missed entirely until—huzzah!—it's in full flower, seemingly, overnight.

Peltaphyllum peltatum 050216 320

The round leaves that follow this slender floral display are enormous. In happy colonies, they form an invincible groundcover. Who could imagine that this show should be followed by that one? Spring is an astonishing season, indeed.

Peltaphyllum peltatum 050216 640

 

Spring is the peak season for astonishing plants that, literally, pop up. Here is a bloom spike of umbrella plant, about twenty inches tall and topped with a cluster of pink flowers six inches across. It emerges from the colony's thick rhizomes weeks before the leaves and, at the height of a season where new excitements reveal themselves almost daily, can be missed entirely until—huzzah!—it's in full flower, seemingly, overnight.

 

Each flower is an inch across: large enough for its tidy structure and sequential color scheme to stand out. Five petals of palest pink are around the outside, then ten stamens with mid-pink filaments supporting pinkish anthers, then the central pistil, in bright raspberry. 

 

Peltaphyllum peltatum 050216 closest

 

In the picture below, look closely at the flower in the center. From this angle, you can see that the anther of each flower of Peltaphyllum peltatum is divided in two, and looks snouty and nearly porcine. It's a comic jolt that saves the flowers from mere delicate beauty.

 

Peltaphyllum peltatum 050216 flower detail 640

 

The round leaves that follow this slender floral display are enormous. Each is borne atop its own tall stem like an umbrella. In happy colonies, leaves overlap and jostle so much that the foliage forms an invincible groundcover. Who could imagine that this show would be followed by that one? Spring is an astonishing season, indeed.

 

 

I'll profile Peltaphyllum this Summer, after it has transitioned to its large and umbrella-like foliage. 

 
 
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