A few weeks ago I mentioned the startlingly scarlet Lobelia cardinalis (cardinal flower) growing by our little stream. Well in the garden there’s lovely wild variant. As you can see it’s a soft rose pink, shading to white at the base of the petals, the flowers opening from coral pink buds.
This came to me from Georgia native plant wizard Don Jacobs, whom I’ve mentioned here before. He’s spent decades searching out natural variants of native plants and this is a real treat.
Growing in soil which is less damp and less rich than is ideal it’s steadily getting stronger and is still has a few final flowers here at the end of October. It will be interesting to see if the bees take pollen across to those wild ones fifty yards away. I’ve made a point of not growing the sophisticated hybrids bred in Germany – the Compliment and Fan series – superb though they are as I didn’t want the wild ones to be contaminated. Rightly or wrongly, if pinks turn up by the stream I don’t think I’ll mind at all.
One of the big wholesale growers now has 'Eco Pink Flare' in production, so look ouit for it in nurseries and with mail order suppliers next year.