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Friday, May 14, 2010

Blooms On The Way


This sweep of misty bright green around the corner of the patio is a self seeding flower that came in a can of wild flowers we bought the first summer we lived here.  I have to pull some out because they can come up a little too aggressively in the path around this bed, but I usually let them go where they wish because I love them so much.  I'm getting them to migrate to the wild flower area along our alley too.


You can just see the buds forming.  Notice the hit of blue?  Occassionally, a pink or white will show up but mostly they make a carpet of green and blue when they bloom.  The bloom then forms a seed pod that dries and rattles in the wind scattering the seed for next year.  I like to leave the pods in the flower bed for a while in the summer.  When you see the blooms, you'll know why they call it Love-In-A-Mist.

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This plant tucked in the corner by our air conditioner is no maintenance.  I got starts from my mother-in-law.  She dug some up, threw them in a plastic bag and sent them home with me before I had the place to plant them ready.  I left the bag sit on the patio for at least a week occassionally watering them.  I think all you need to get this plant to start is a piece of root that hasn't gotten completely dry.  Once I planted the starts, they settled right in.  It gets white and pink flowers in the summer.  I have to uproot some once in a while because they start creeping into other plants, but I never water it or anything.  In the spring, I knock down the previous year's stems and go on.  My MIL called them "Bouncing Betties."  Try googling that!  I found out it is a soapwort with a bit of foklore.  According to Bob Johnson (Founder of HerbFest; a 10 day lifestyle festival featuring herbs, perennials, free herbal seminars, recycling, cooking with herbs and a daily duck parade for the kids held annually in Wake Forest, N.C.),  the story of this plant goes something like this:  In our country's early formative years the West was being claimed by the "Easterners" and the trail from East to West Coast could take many a month and sometimes years to complete.  The winter months were especially harsh as one approached the mountainous areas so most groups would settle in and make a permanent camp to spend the winter or actually in some cases a couple of years. This break became a time to plant crops, resupply and get ready for the next leg of the journey.  One of the customs was to leave behind something useful for the next wagon train of pioneers coming after you. You might call it a useful welcoming gift.  One of the early pioneers started a trend and her name was Betty.  She knew the ladies had to find a way to clean the clothes etc. so she would take some cuttings from her Soapwort plant and plant several soapworts for the next group coming after her. Betty started a new chapter of herbal lore and legend.  Soapwort was used as a laundry powder/cleaner in pioneer days. It actually creates a cleansing soap and when the ladies were washing the clothes they would go break a branch of soapwort to use to clean the clothing.  Everywhere Betty camped she left an abundance of new soapwort plants.  Over time the plant became known as the "Bouncing Betty" plant in her honor for planting everywhere she camped before bouncing to a new location.

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Blooming photos at a future date.

9 comments:

  1. I love Love in a Mist, although I can never get them to reseed as well as yours. I've never heard of Bouncing Betties, I can only imagine what that search turned up :) I love when plants have stories behind them. I'll be looking forward to seeing them bloom.

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  2. ~tina
    They are staples in my garden for sure!

    ~Catherine
    I've seen the bouncing betties bloom still by abandoned farm houses. They're durable!

    ~GonSS

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  3. I really enjoyed looking around your blog today. What neat ideas! Can't wait to see more.

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  4. ~Bonnie
    Thank you for visiting. Come back anytime.
    ~GonSS

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  5. Sounds like a hardy one!! I need something on the side of our house to crowd out the weeds. I will have to check into that one. Also, I love the caption under your blog title ... removing sod since 1998. I would like to remove all of our sod. Enjoyed looking at your blog and thanks for visiting mine, as well.

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  6. ~Amy
    Thanks for visiting. Weeds do not grow with Bouncing Betty. It would be great for that. Removing sod is a process. We're making big strides this year.
    ~GonSS

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  7. You're Nigella (Love-in-a-Mist) looks so well-behaved compared to mine right now! Ours re-seeded a lot last year and has gone from our hell strip down to the neighbors nooks and crannies in his sidewalk, and then across the sidewalk into one of my beds. Some has even popped up in the gutter of the street down to the drain. I love the blooms and the seeds but this year it's, "Off with their heads!"

    Of course none of us are big plant killers, and even the neighbor is waiting for them to bloom before he yanks them out. We just don't judge TOO harshly around here. Besides, they are so pretty too.

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  8. ~Ficurinia
    I have other self seeders who like to pull the escape artist trick like your love-in-a-mist. I always figure annuals can be pulled like you're planning if they get too crazy. Thanks for stopping by. Hope to see you again soon.
    ~GonSS

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