Thursday, August 13, 2009

Lobelia cardinalis

First, I'll admit that this photo isn't up to my usual standards, but the blooms were getting a bit past (quite a bit past, actually) their prime when I decided to use them for the blog. I kind of have a love/hate affair with these. For years I tried planting them in various places, both the red flowered one and the white, but they never proved 'perennial' for me and never seemed to come back the next year. Finally, a few years ago, one appeared in a place where I didn't plant it. Seemes these can self seed. This year I have them in at least 3 places, none of which is where I would have thought of planting them. One is seeded within a clump of Sensitive Fern, one is in the middle of an iris bog/pond and the other is in a rather dry place. I'm thrilled to have them finally being happy here since they add a nice splash of color this time of year.
Despite my problems with getting this to be happy here, according to descriptions of what it likes, there shouldn't have been any problems. It grows from zone 3-9, in full sun or part shade and in medium to wet places. It is native to many places in North America. It is 2-4 feet tall, mine being on the taller side. They have taken over providing red color now that the Crocosmias are done.
I would encourage people to try this one if you haven't since it is pretty pest free - bugs, diseases and mammals. They do attract hummingbirds and butterflies, which also makes me like them. Our hummingbirds have increased in population with lots of babies now drinking at the feeder.
And speaking of birds, we had a major population explosion of woodpeckers this year. Lots of baby Red Bellies and Downies. So cute sitting there on the suet feeder, still waiting for mama to peck some out and feed them. Most have now figured it out, so I expect they'll be moving on to their own territories soon and our population will be back to normal.

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