For all of you who worship at the shrine of the unusual, the rare, the difficult to find and challenging to grow, after my last post I should admit I do cultivate a few less-than-common plants. These aren't horticulturally-fashion-forward plants, they're just not as ordinary as my favorite nasturtiums and sweet peas.
After saying I'd never let another daylily in my garden (too much dead-heading and dividing required) I fell for the little grape-colored beauty Hemerocallis 'Indian Giver' (probably, maybe that's the cultivar). The sunshine is so bright in this photo, the flower looks pinker than it looks in real life...its effect is rich, dark, and deeply grapey.
I've never been able to resist a tigridia, or tiger plant. Sun-loving bulbs from Mexico, tigridia require sharp drainage and as much warmth as you can give them. This speckled orange one has made it through the past two winters. Borderline hardy, their survival depends more on how well the soil drains than on how low the temperature drops. It's growing here in a metal feed trough with strawberries and nasturtiums with 'Brookside' blue hardy geraniums as backdrop.
And then there's the perennial Lobelia tupa, which grows six feet high in the sandy soil here. It needs lots of space, as well as sun and good drainage. Set back after our two especially cold winters, this summer it's come back with a vengeance, pleasing me almost as much as the hummingbirds that fight over it shamelessly. The flowers are red and torch-like, the foliage soft and gray-green, and the habit spreading, flopping, and worth every inch of space it takes up.