Sunday, May 12, 2019

Fickle frits

Fritillaria acmopetala
 Fritillarias are undoubtedly an acquired taste. I'm afraid I acquired the taste a long time ago--and many of the subtle greeny ones that people walk right past are some of my favorites. Fritillaria acmopetala is pretty widely available commercially--and generally considered one of the easiest: I've planted it time and again in my rock gardens, in my blue gramma prairie--heck I've put it everywhere--and each year a few will bloom here and there. Not quite what I'd hoped for--namely thick sheaves of flowers year after year. But they do persist. And then today I was walking along my alley and Lo! and Behold! what should be growing in the sparse shade of a pinon pine but a self-sown seedling of this very frit: where I would NEVER have dreamed of planting it in a million years!

What galls me isn't just that its growing in the wretched spot, in awful soil, with sundry weeds--but it is nearly 18 tall and gorgeous: it LIKES this spot! This isn't the first time this Western Asian has annoyed me: one of my colleagues planted it in a woodland garden at Denver Botanic Gardens where it's going viral.

It's self-sowing wildly--hundreds and hundreds of seedlings are maturing and blooming around the original plants!

The Fritillaries that are whitish and finished blooming are F. assyrica, growing intermixed but blooming a week or two earlier. I would have never dreamed of putting either of these in this bed (if you look at the upper left you'll see a big clump of Cypripedium  Frosh Hybrid--and there are Hostas and Dicentra and other classic woodland plants. So I recommend if you want to grow this Fritillaria, put it in the woods or out in the alley!

1 comment:

  1. It is nice to see a Cypripedium (Lady's-slipper orchid) included in the woodland planting. However, I am still cringing that I don't see any sedges (Carex).


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