Saturday, May 22, 2010


About two years ago I noticed a plant the backyard of my friend's new home. It looked like a striped minature hollyhock and the leaves of the plant also looked similar to a hollyhock. But no one seemed to know what it was and I couldn't find anything like it in my numerous gardening magazines or books. I went back to my friend's to collect a few seeds only to find out her hubby had cleaned out that whole bed, which had become overgrown. Some time later I saw this very plant in one of the gardening catalogs that came in the mail. It was a Zebra Mallow.

However, I have only had a 50/50 percent success rate with plants ordered through the mail. In fact, the bulbs I've bought from Sam's have proved to be larger and hardier than the ones ordered in the mail. Others must have discovered this since Sam's was wiped out of the large gladiolas very earlier on. There were none left when I stopped by. Good thing the ones I planted last year have survived and are coming up everywhere. But I digress as usual...

Last fall I discovered my school's greenhouse garden had a Zebra Mallow and I collected a few seeds, careful not to harm the plant in any way. The garden is a teaching garden and just a nice place to stroll to see what's blooming during the season. I planted the seeds this spring and got... nothing. They were kind of sad looking seeds but I was hoping for at least one seedling to come up. Then last weekend I visited a local nursery and there it was, tucked inconspicously between Stella D'Or daylilies and mixed verbenas. I was so thrilled I didn't even mind paying a bit more than I usually do for a plant. Since it's a perennial, it's totally worth the cost. And if it does well then perhaps its seeds will put out new ones next year. The pot label said it will grow up to 36" high with 2 1/2" spires and hardy to zone 2.

The Zebra got planted this morning, along with several new purchases. I managed to expanded a small part of the side bed before having to call it a day at around 12:30. It was miserably hot already, so it shouldn't have surprised me late this afternoon that the temperature had reached 100 degrees [according to one bank I drove past]. 

Edited post on 5/28:  When I went to check on the plant this morning I discovered that it had two different flowers blooming. Some of the flowers have a white background with the stripe while others are purple background with the stripe. Very cool!

In order to make room for some of these plants, I had to move others around. A few irises got moved, along with some small daylilies. Planted were 20 new purple and white asian lilies, two Margarite daisies [who have such nice scents when you rub on them] and my other great plant score - a "Goodness Grows" Veronica.  I have two other varieties of Veronicas and they are such good plants. Beautiful spires on hardy, strong stems. Again, I found this plant hidden among piles of other potted plants and immedately recognized the flower. And the best part was that I only paid $3 for it at Walmart. Usually Veronicas run between $6-7 a pot. Granted, this pot was about half the size what I normally see (1 gallon) but it'll grow and spread within a season. Still have one other to plant but need to expand the bed some more to plant it. The purple spires will contrast nicely next to the pink spires.

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