|February Mystery Flower|
|Impatiens namchabawensis 'Blue Diamond' (Click photos to enlarge)|
|February Winner, Sharon Brown|
|Sharon's Favorite Flower Photo|
|Sharon chose this collage, because these flowers are not only beautiful, they hold special meanings and memories as well: (Spiraling clockwise, starting at left) Dorothy Perkins climbing rose (her great grandmother), Goldenrod (her Aunt Bett), irises (her Granny Ninna), peach daylily (her mom), white Rose of Sharon (her Grandad Adams), red hibiscus (her Grandmother Ell), red daylily (her Uncle Bill)|
mpatiens namchabarwensis 'Blue Diamond' is a new species discovered by Yuan Yong-Ming and Ge Xue-Jun in a canyon on Namcha Barwa mountain in Tibet during the summer of 2003. Its habitat was a very small area in the canyon at 3,000 feet. At approximately two feet tall, it was multibranched and sprawling, with nodes rooting where they touched the ground. Like other members of the impatiens species, its seed pods explode when ripe, scattering seed several feet in all directions.
My specimen seems quite happy in a pot, which is perhaps the best solution, since it doesn't do well in our hot, humid summers. I can move it indoors and let it escape the worst of the summer heat. It self sows if the pot is located in an area where the seeds can fall on bare, shady, moist ground. The seedlings are not hardy, so they must be dug up and potted. All things considered, its culture is not burdensome, given that it's such a beautiful, exotic, rare plant.
|Location of Namcha Barwa|
More About Namcha Barwa
British surveyors discovered and located Namcha Barwa in 1912. It wasn't until the 1980s, though, that Chinese climbers first attempted to climb to the summit but were unsuccessful. A joint Japanese-Chinese expedition reached 24,475 feet in 1991 but lost a member in an avalanche and turned back. Finally, in 1992, another Japanese-Chinese expedition reached the 25,531-foot summit on October 30.
If you're an All Things Plants regular, chances are that you already know Sharon, our February winner. Gregarious, multitalented, and eloquent, she treasures plants that evoke memories. The collage at right is ample proof of the latter.
Here is how she responded to the questions I pose to each contest winner:
How did you come to be a gardener and how long have you been gardening?
I was born into gardening. I have vague memories of sitting on the back porch at the feet of my grandmother playing with the curly strings she pulled from green beans as she broke them. By the time I could walk I had learned to break them too, and managed to eat more than went into the basket. It was during WWII and there were few men in our part of the world; they were all fighting a war in a faraway land. If we wanted to eat, we had to grow our own. I grew up thinking everybody lived like that. When I was 3 and they knew I could count at least to 10, it was my job to drop 2 seeds of whatever we were planting into the little holes my grandmother dug. So I'd have to think about it, but I'd say I've been gardening for several years more than 60.
If you had a chance to give just one piece of advice to a beginning gardener, what would it be?
I'd tell a new gardener to first understand the land where s/he gardens, and that includes climate as well as the soil. Then secondly, get to know the native plants that already grow and are happy there. I guess that's two pieces of advice, but I don't believe you can have one without the other. Once a gardener knows what s/he has to work with, then the fun can begin.
Why did you choose this particular photo for publication? Do you have a favorite flower?
I couldn't have just one photo nor could I have just one favorite flower. Though I have many kinds and colors and sizes of plants and love them all, I have to say my favorites are those I brought with me from the mountains where I grew up in southeast Kentucky. They are so old they don't even have names, most of them, but they are filled with much loved memories of those who gave them to me; those who taught me all about nature and plants and their importance to us. My favorites in this collage are all almost as old or older than I am, it's up to me to tend them well. Recently I've been thinking that I've tended them so well they'll probably outlive me.
Do you grow vegetables as well?
I do grow a few vegetables, Larry, but not many. A bell pepper, a tomato, a white half runner here and there; that's about it. There's only one of me to eat them.
Do you have any other hobbies?
Aside from playing with words and paints and plants, I don't have time for much more. Of course I was lucky enough to make painting and writing my life's work, teaching art and humanities for as many years as I did, so things haven't changed much since retiring in '06. I just have a little more time for the plants now.
What's Blooming Indoors This Month
|Lavender Moth Orchid (Phalaenopsis)|
|More Moth Orchids|
|An African Violet imposter: Mini
impatiens in the Hawaii series
|An old impatiems that Victorians
|A Ponderosa Lemon blossom on
my 56-year-old indoor tree
|A confused Christmas Cactus
about to bloom in March
flower of the
|MYSTERY BLOSSOM FOR MARCH|
This unusual vine from Costa Rica is in the Euphorbia family. Like all members of the Euphorbiaceae, the flowers on this vine have petal-like structures, called bracts, surrounding the center of the actual flower. It is these pinkish-lavender bracts that form the image of a bow tie.
ABOUT COTTAGE-IN-THE-MEADOW GARDENS
Cottage-in-the-Meadow Gardens, owned by Larry and Wilma Rettig, South Amana, Iowa, has been featured in local and national publications, on the Internet, and is listed with the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., as a national heritage garden. Larry and Wilma grow over 300 varieties of flowers, trees, shrubs, and vegetables. Since 1986, they have maintained a seed bank that preserves vegetable varieties brought from Germany to the Amana Villages during the 1850s.
HOW TO ENTER THE NAME THAT BLOOM CONTEST
Scroll down to the forum at the end of this article. Click on the thread, "March Contest Entries." (The thread may not appear immediately after the article is published. If there is no thread by that name, please start one if you'd like to identify the mystery flower. Enter the name of the plant pictured at left, both its common name and its botanical name (genus and species). The winner gets to select a photo of a blooming plant from her/his garden, to be published in next month's What's Blooming article, along with a brief interview.
Check back often to see if the bloom has been identified. If readers are having difficulty, I may provide a hint.