Omphalodes – and others

As a judgement for moaning about how horrible it was to contemplate clearing the weed from the pond, the fates sent a warm, sunny day. So I had no excuse. But at least I had spent the winter months tracking down a new ultra-cheap pair of thigh waders, so my feet remained dry. I shall spare you the horrid details – you can read about it here, if you are so inclined.  But the pond does look a lot better:P1010591

A plant I use extensively for early spring flowering in semi-shaded rough areas is omphalodes cappadocica. It makes a great substitute for forget-me-not, especially since you can totally forget it.P1010592

It’s a tough little perennial plant, spreading slowly on rooting tendrils. It’s quick into growth in spring (normally it would have flowered a month ago)  and it doesn’t seem to mind being partially swamped by grasses and weeds in high summer. The pure blue of its flower is most welcome at a time of year when not much else is in bloom.P1010593

Time to take a look at  another ‘difficult’ primula:P1010594

Primula handeliana. China, 3,000 metres, shade,  forest, ‘moss-covered rocks’. OK, I can do the moss and the rocks, and the shade, but only 300 metres, and I guess that makes the difference! I’ve lost this (twice) over winter, growing it in mossy shade, so I’m now trying it out in relatively well-shaded gravel backed by a grit-heavy compost underneath. We’ll see how we go….if it survives, I shall be very pleased.

It’s just wonderful when a new plant does something unexpected. In my previous post, I wrote about the unfurling leaves of glaucidium palmatum.  But, look – they weren’t leaves, they were flower stems – the leaves are just coming through now. Meanwhile, the flower buds  are pushing outwards as they rise above the soil.P1010587


21 thoughts on “Omphalodes – and others

  1. So glad you are getting blooms on the wood poppy. Don’t let them get snowed on or anything before you get photos. “Omphalodes” reminded me of oompa loompas… Very pretty though. Forget-me-nots can be forgotten, too. They always show up.

  2. Reading though your wonderful comments and looking at the pictures and then reading the comments of those following your blog has been really insightful about what it takes to manage a pond. I really love them in a landscape, but I am now realizing I may not be up to the effort to care for it.

    • Charlie: So much depends on how you set about it. My pond is natural, it has been there a long time, and – with my clay soil, it needs no liner. The chief problem is to stop it silting up or turning into a weed-filled nightmare. But, if you are starting from scratch, there are many, many ways to minimise the maintenance.

  3. Hi Kininvie,

    I am always fascinated to read your posts. Your world is so different to mine. We never touch our pond when the temperature dips below 20C, but to you that is probably a good day. We have two types of pondweed; azolla and duckweed and it grows all year. It is late autumn here and the Tibouchinas are in full bloom and the azaleas are starting. We had a great autumn harvest in the Blue Mountains with chestnuts, walnuts and quinces. Down here in the Sydney Basin we are harvesting our citrus. Plenty of lemons and cumquats to share around.

    Cheers from Zenda

    • Hi Zenda, I have the duckweed too, but it’s not too bad a problem, luckily. 20 degrees sounds like paradise – it was 11 degrees today. How come your azaleas bloom in autumn? That’s weird. Mine are just coming out now – in late spring. How I envy you the citrus!

  4. That omphalodes looks lovely – wonder if I can grow it? If it puts up with grasses and weeds in summer, maybe I should grow it in the flower borders! 🙂

    • I don’t see why not, Lyn. Drought and heat might be a problem, but I would say it’s well worth trying. If your local nurseries stock it, it would be a good indication that it might do.

  5. Your Omphalodes is such a lovely blue, it must look super spreading in the shade. Fingers crossed for your Primula, hope you succeed and what a marvelllous surprise you must have had when you found your Glaucidium leaves turned out to be flowers, will look forward to more photos of that!

  6. There is something about the flowers on the primula which remind me of Nicotiana – probably the way they droop. I am constantly surprised how many different Primulas there are. I recently bought a large book on the subject and was even more surprised at the range fo habitats

    • HI, Surely it’s available somewhere in Chicago? Maybe not, though, as it doesn’t readily set seed. It doesn’t love extreme heat though, so might not do well in your summer.

  7. The Omphalodes cappadocica (now names the wooly mammoth ‘hat’ plant in my mind) is a nice plant I didn’t know it (just thought – Boraginaceae, which it is yay) so now I do know so thank you. I’ve never owned a pond (fear of drowning given my stature) so hats off to you and a good set of waders. I hear the word waders and automatically think of the birds and you with stalk like long skinny artificial bird legs in the pond. I’m with Linne, I think you should camp out (in this very balmy weather) and timelapse that splendid flower. Are you heading to Gardening Scotland?

    • Balmy? The Fettercairn road has the snow gates shut as I write (hope Alistair’s not snowed in). Yes, I shall more than likely head for gardening Scotland. It’s my one chance to pick up multi-packs of those invaluable thorn & mud – proof gloves that I wear constantly. Plus any unusual primula I can raid from dismantled displays. Are you around? Or still in the windswept north?

  8. Hi Mr. K. I like your phon shaped flowers popping up… glauciwhatever, I’m not envious about your pond spring cleaning but yes, it does look a lot better now.
    Glad to see you are up and running again. 😉

  9. Thanks for the reminder on omphalodes. I grew some a couple of years back, like it and thought it would spread. But come to think of it – it hasn’t and indeed has completely disappeared. D

  10. Hi Kininvie, a search for more information on your wood poppy resulted also in loads of information about a dwarf owl. Your pond is looking good and it would seem you just have the right conditions for the omphalodes.

    • I’m surprised that omphalodes may be difficult for some people. It’s always struck me as very amenable to a whole variety of conditions (though not too much sun)

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