I recently wrote about my new oxalis obsession elsewhere on the site, including a wide view of this particular plant, ‘Burgundy Bliss,’ in its pot. Then a friend sent me a link to this blog featuring a collection of phenomenal oxalis plants.
Look at Oxalis obtusa ‘Coral’, and the thin lines of colour through the petals. Or the way that Oxalis versicolor’s petals unfurl in a spiral to reveal a strip of colour along the edges.
I am done for.
Yesterday, while visiting a series of test gardens, I witnessed legions of these gold and black soldier beetles (Chauliognathus pensylvanicus) aka Pennsylvania Leatherwing beetles squirming, frolicking and procreating up a storm all over a bed of ‘Tiger Eye Gold’ Rudbeckia.
As I moved around the beds I observed that they only inhabited the flowers that perfectly matched their body colours. Interesting tactic for safety since they are likely quite vulnerable during these frenzied acts reproducing the species. When not procreating, I’ve read that the adults eat pollen and specifically enjoy goldenrod. However, this was a HIGHLY cultivated property and there was nary a goldenrod in sight.
I saw these dahlias while out on a bike ride and had to turn around and go back to take some photos. I’ve come around to dahlias for looking at, but I still don’t have any interest in sacrificing space to grow them. Thankfully there are lots of Portuguese families in my area that fill up their postage stamp lawns with them every summer.
Can you believe these flowers belong to a black currant bush?
It recently occurred to me that I have a red currant bush and a gooseberry bush, but do not have a black currant bush. This despite the fact that I like the idea of gooseberries and red currants more than I like to eat them. Black currant on the other hand is divine.
Anyways, I actually do sort of have a black currant bush growing in my community garden plot right now. I say sort-of only because I’m not entirely sure it’s a black currant. A seedling that looks like a black currant came up as a volunteer a few years back so I stuck it in a corner and let it grow, waiting to find out what it is and hoping that it is indeed a black currant. I have absolutely no idea where the plant came from. Two years in and it is now taller than my gooseberry bush and continues to look like a black currant with the possible exception of the leaves that seem a bit too big, but it’s hard to say because some varieties do have slightly bigger leaves. Also, while at the garden centre, I noticed jostaberry, which is not unlike a black currant bush but with larger leaves. So perhaps it is a jostaberry. But who can know? Until it flowers and produces fruit, I remain in the dark. That could take another few years yet, but I like a good mystery and am willing to wait it out despite a lack of space.
Meanwhile, I have been longing for a real and true black currant and had decided I was just going to suck it up and get one. And then I almost didn’t, again. Because the bushes at the store were $14.99 each and not particularly big. And because I am cheap and figured I should just wait until the fall when they are on sale, which is how I got the gooseberry bush. However, while browsing the selection I found this one, called ‘Crandall’, with beautifully ornamental yellow and orange flowers. That sealed the deal.
You’ll note that ‘Crandall’ is not a regular black currant (Ribes nigrum), but is another species, Ribes odoratum. Apparently the berries have a spicy or clove flavor, and I can tell you that the flowers certainly do. Unfortunately, I did not choose well for my small community garden plot and managed to find the largest bush going (4ft at maturity). Some people say you need two bushes to produce fruit but other more reliable sources say you don’t. I guess I’ll find out soon enough.
And there you have it. I am now the proud, albeit tentative owner of a black currant bush. Jam to come in another 12 to 24 months.
I took this picture last month on my trip to Pennsylvania. Finding these in bloom was such a joy. I had never seen them in person before!
I don’t know about you, but I find it really difficult to choose a favourite flowering woodland plant — the one I’m looking at is always my favourite at the time. But those gorgeous mottled leaves easily put trout lily somewhere up near the top. The foliage reminds me of Paphiopedilum orchids.
Anyways, definitely one of those life must-sees checked off the list, even if I didn’t know it was on the list until I saw them.