Wednesday Vignette – Wine Cups

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This week’s garden vignette is a dreadfully disorganized scramble that was slated for revamping – one of these days.

If ever.

Then it kept raining, raining and raining and everything grew into a heap of lush green foliage with flowers on top of the mess.

DSC_1554 There are two scramblers here – Wine Cups (Callirhoe involucrata) and Clematis ‘Rooguchi’. Most of the plants in this bed had been moved from my old gardens in Glen Ellyn years ago, so the area has functioned more as a holding area than a garden.

So THAT’S my excuse!

DSC_1544There is an Astrantia, a Galium called ‘Victor Jones’, a daylily I picked up on sale and underneath the mess, there HAD BEEN an Oakleaf Hydrangea.

I dare you to find it!

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Another little garden is taking shape in the distance where a decrepit farm gate is getting replaced with a new one constructed of old barn wood.

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I am rather fond of scramblers like Wine Cups for their ability to weave into their neighbors sometimes creating arresting combinations – or sometimes just confusing combinations as you never know what flower belongs to which leaf.

In the prairie it threads its way into Northern Bush Honeysuckle (Diervilla lonicera) which, by the way, is NOT a Honeysuckle, nor is it invasive. I have also let it scramble through Wine and Roses Weigela.

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Wine Cups, also called Poppy Mallow, is a member of the mallow family (Hollyhock, and Hibiscus among others) easily recognized by the distinctive flowers.

Wine Cups is drought-tolerant, develops a significant taproot and produces bright magenta flowers all summer long. The color is always clear, never muddy as is common with magenta colored flowers. Native range includes Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas with scattered populations in Illinois.

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Hey, I think I can spot the Hydrangea in this shot!

Flowering can be prolonged by removing old flowers before they set seed. Mine have never seeded. If yours have, please comment!

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Hurry up – time to get this posted!

Whew – what a workout! I think I’ll take a nap now.

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Wednesday Vignette — Pale Indian Plaintain

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Pale Indian Plantain (Cacalia atriplicifolia) is not something you are going to run across at your local garden center. It is a Midwestern native found in rocky woodlands, thickets and wet meadows throughout Illlinois, “conspicuous but uncommon” according to Swink and Wilhelm. I obtained a few from my friend Victor and scattered them about just to see what they would do, this being the only one to bloom this year.

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What a lovely thing it has turned out to be, conspicuous to be sure, and not just in flower. Leaves and stems are thick and leathery. Leaves are blue-gray in color while the stems and petioles display a purple cast. Creamy white flowers exude an aroma like vanilla.

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Forgive the blur — I haven’t quite mastered the macro feature of my camera.

A couple years back I rolled a hollow log into this bed that consists of nothing more than a jumble of Bittersweet clambering up an electric pole. There is an old gate and chair hiding in the jumble, along with Kitty.

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Prairie Dropseed (Sporobolus heterolepsis) and Foxglove Beardtongue (Penstemon digitalis) are nearby companions. Alas, the snowplow almost demolished the old log last winter.

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It appears that deadheading will extend the bloom. Right now I am content to watch the show.

Wednesday Vignette – Bottlebrush Times Two

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Appropriately named Bottlebrush Grass sports long floral spikes that resemble a bottlebrush. I rarely see it used ornamentally except by native plant enthusiasts like myself. It is perfect for woodlands or to add textural interest to the summer shade garden. It is quite lovely backlit, as most grasses are, and the light color makes them stand out. Plants often form small colonies and I suspect they may seed about. Paired spikelets become straw colored when mature.

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Bottlebrush Grass was assigned to a different genus in the past and referred to as Hystrix patula. Because this grass forms a naturally occurring hybrid with Virginia Wild Rye (Elymus virginicus), it was reassigned to the Elymus genus and is now known as Elymus hystrix.

Repetition of flower form with Bottlebrush Buckeye in the background was quite accidental but is much enjoyed.

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Yes, I KNOW it’s Thursday! Alas, I traveled to Wisconsin but I still wanted to keep up the momentum of this “meme”.

Wednesday Vignette — Ozark Coneflower

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I am charmed by the randomness of Clematis which attaches itself to anything within reach. This year – quite by accident—its companions are Echinacea paradoxa (Ozark Coneflower) and Aesculus parviflora (Bottlebrush Buckeye). The rose, on which it was supposed to consort with, does not want to cooperate.

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Echinacea paradoxa is a rare native wildflower found in the Ozark region of Arkansas and Missouri. The paradox of this species is that it’s a yellow flowered member of the purple coneflower family. According to Prairie Moon Nursery, Echinaceas easily cross-pollinate. E. paradoxa is one of the parents used in hybridizing Coneflowers resulting in the bizarre colored cultivars that are so popular in the market these days. E. paradoxa is deer resistant, fragrant, and is not prone the Aster Yellows that plague E. purpurea.

This is my first post for Wednesday Vignette which was initiated by a fellow blogger flutterandhum.wordpress.com who describes it as follows:

This meme celebrates combinations. The inspiration of the week can be foliage and flowers, but it can also consist of surrounding materials, colors and textures, or a combination of it all – anything that creates an arresting display in the world around us.

I plan on featuring plants that are native to the Midwest. Sounds easy, no? Let’s see if I can keep this up!