Lungwort—Prettier than it Sounds

Pulmonaria_Lungwort_DBG-CO_LAH_4436

It’s easy to understand why we want to include Sweet William, Lamb’s Ears, or Love-in-a-Mist in our gardens. Their whimsical names make us smile. On the other hand, it’s surprising anyone grows plants with names such as fumewort, blood lily, or wormwood. They sound awful! In fact, these plants are quite beautiful, as you can see below (clockwise from upper right).

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Wildflower Hike, part 2

Dodecatheon pulchellum_Shootingstar_Emerald Valley-EPC-CO_LAH_3597If you’ve just joined us, we’ve been taking a hike to look at some early summer wildflowers. See last week’s post for plants along the dry, sunny trail.

We wake from our unintended nap, eager to continue on our hike. After a couple of miles, we finally reach the stream we’ve been hearing. The trail steadily gains in elevation as we move upstream, and we find ourselves breathing a bit harder. The plants here are more adapted to partial shade, and thrive in damp conditions.

The first flowers we notice are a scattering of Shooting Stars (Dodecatheon pulchellum). May’s rain has resulted in a profusion of their delicate blooms, and they grow in the saturated stream-side soil.

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Wax Begonias—Indoors!

lah_6081What plant thrives indoors, shrugs off low humidity, and blooms all winter in bold shades of white to pink to red? Surprise! It’s wax begonias!

Also called fibrous begonias, these bedding plants have large, round succulent leaves in either lime green or a beautiful burgundy- or bronze-red. Flowers have fleshy petals surrounding a bright yellow cluster of stamens. Plants grow to a height of about six to twelve inches, and tend to flop, creating a solid mass of color, and even trailing over walls and container edges.

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Dwarf Periwinkle – Vinca minor

vinca-minor-xg-may142008-lah-001rs-1Appearance
With violet-blue blossoms scattered like stars across a field of emerald green, Dwarf Periwinkle is a popular groundcover in the Pikes Peak region. Also available in white and purple-red, these 5-petaled pinwheel-shaped flowers bring welcome color to a shady spot. The shiny leaves are arranged along stems that may reach three feet in length, but the plants are only six inches high. (Another species, V. major, gets much larger.) The stems will root wherever they touch the ground.

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