This site is for people who like plants -- growers, enthusiasts, aesthetes, novices and professionals, those who appreciate wild things and those who appreciate the cultivated. I garden in Chelsea, and I've been visiting people's yards for 20+ years in the course of my work. My goal is to make this blog a community project, so if you share my interests, please consider becoming a participant and contributing content -- Guerin. Info:

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Trying to remember my forget-me-nots

Omphalodes verna with a true-blue flower
I'm the kind of person who tends to be wounded by even the slightest whiff of criticism, no matter how ridiculous its source. So when another gardener said to me, in response to my query about something in her garden, "What, don't you recognize the scorpioid infructescence?!," I took her statement to heart and quietly vowed to grow everything I could in the Boraginaceae, a family of plants characterized by its scorpioidishness. Forget-me-nots, pulmonarias, virginia bluebells, and others.

I'm not going to bother going into detail of what became of that early ambition. I couldn't. Too much plant carnage. Too many experiences I would rather not be forced to relive. Yes, Anchusa was lovely, but the affair was fleeting. And Lithodora broke my heart. And I remember trying my hand at a ton of Onosma species that I grew from seed. Fun but brief.

Brunnera macrophylla
Mertensia virginiana (Virginia bluebells)
But there are many brighter spots. Like when I was introduced to Brunnera, whose lovely blue flowers grace so many gardens at this time of year.  And I've had an extremely rewarding run with Omphalodes verna, a gentle spreading forget-me-not that is easy to discipline and mixes well with most anything. I highly recommend it.

And how cool are those Pulmonarias (lungworts)! (Actually as I type this I recall stumbling upon a whole forest of them off Penncraft on Ann Arbor's west side -- so maybe they can get a bit out of hand).

Buglossoides pupurocaerulea
Buglossoides purpurocaerulea (common name: purple gromwell, if that helps), however, is really getting on my nerves. Beware of any plant that advertises itself as a 'sub-shrub.' What that means is that it will send extremely thin steel cables deep into the soil, change tact to the horizontal for a while, and then re-emerge in the middle of something particularly choice. I've got the same problem with an obscure species of Polygala that isn't even supposed to be hardy here.

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