Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Cardinal Flower (Lobelia cardinalis)

Cardinal Flower
Lobelia cardinalis
(low-BEE-lee-uh) (kar-dih-NAL-iss)

What are you going to say about the Cardinal Flower? The only bad thing I can think of is it gets a little too tall. The good things are numerous, starting out with the brilliant flower color. The flower supposedly got its name for its resemblance to the hat color of the Roman Catholic Cardinals. It is native to North America but found it way into European gardens in the early 1600’s. This one seeded from some ‘Queen Victoria’ I planted years ago alongside a pond. Every year a couple come back and the foliage is not as dark as the cultivar it isn’t green either. The hummingbirds love this flower and really seem to be attracted to it. I have seen the white flowered form and personally don’t like it as much. The Dwarf White Pine (Pinus strobus ‘Blue Shag’) provided the nice green background. I was just happy to get a nice picture of a red flower. Those are always a personal stumbling block.

I had a look around the garden at the house I’m working on right now. I have been there a couple of weeks and haven’t really had time to look around. I have been working on the driveway and entranceway and the garden is isolated in a cozy way. I found a lot of stuff blooming including Bleeding Hearts (Dicentra), Moonbeam Coreopsis, Salvia and a couple of stray Coneflowers. I didn’t have my camera so I can’t show any pictures. I took the Cardinal Flower last week. The Doublefile Viburnum on the corner of the house, I am guessing it is a ‘Shasta’, was an amazing shade of red and purple. It is getting too big again and I have decided I will not use Doublefile in a foundation planting again. I didn’t put the one I saw today in but I have used it before and it is just too large. There were several other things that looked good including the ‘Rosey Glow’ Barberry. The color was stunning. I am excited as today I get to go to the nursery.


Blackswamp_Girl said...

I will have to try to remember where I've seen this... but I have seen pictures of doublefile viburnums pruned so that they are taller than they are wide, and also so that they are no more than about 3ft. tall but about 8ft. wide. Both ways looked neat in their own way--maybe you could experiment if you really wanted to try them?

They are also way more open and airy in the woods--there are a few in my local metroparks that look downright spindly!

Digital Flower Pictures said...

blackswamp_girl thanks for the tip on the Viburnums. The only thing about pruning them is that you seem to lose some of the flower and that great arching branch structure that I love so much. Thanks for the comments and your continued support!