Someone recently asked me how I get the mystery plants. I am trying to use pictures I take during the week or from pictures sent to me from friends or readers. Some are hardy and good plants, and others are not. I am trying to do a mix of plants, from unusual to more common. Hopefully you will learn about some new plants, and maybe find some you want to try to grow. Send me ideas if you want!
Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow - Brunfelsia – This tender plant will not surive our winters outdoors, but could be moved in and out with good success. The flowers change color, starting out purple then lavender and then white.
You will usually have three colors of blooms on one plant. In our Arkansas gardens, the plant would perform best in good morning sun and afternoon shade. It blooms on the new growth, so if you keep it from year to year, give it a haircut when you move it outdoors. Surprisingly, it is a member of the nightshade family, along with tomatoes and peppers.
Do be aware that the seeds are poisonous and I have heard can be dangerous to children and dogs if they eat them.
Rose Gentian – Sabatia angularis
is a native biennial wildflower that Carl Hunter says is statewide in pinelands and rocky areas. I have never seen it in the wild. My friend Ketha found this one in bloom in her woods.
Other common names include Rose Pink, Eyebright and Rose Marsh. It blooms in the summer months with beautiful bright pink flowers with a lime green star in their center. Bees love the plant. Supposedly, the amount of rainfall we get determines how readily they bloom. The plants have a rosette of foliage the first year, and bloom the second, before seeding and dying back. A bad drought one year can impact blooms the next.
American Fringe Tree - Chionanthus virginicus ,
also called Grancy Gray Beard or Old Man’s Beard, is a wonderful small deciduous native tree in the olive family. It can be grown as a large shrub or a small tree,
with multiple trunks or pruned to a single trunk. In the spring of the year it is covered in white fringe-like blooms. There are separate male and female trees, with an occasional perfect bloom (both male and female) on the same tree.
Both blooms are pretty, but the male blooms are larger. Fertilized female or perfect blooms will set small olive-like fruits which will ripen in late summer turning a dark blue color.
Does well in full sun to partial shade.