Both botanically and bloggily, signs of life have been sighted. Here in the world of blogging, you are the sighter and this post is the sign. Out in the garden, Corydalis ledebouriana is the sign and I am the sighter. Upon reflection, I’m very pleased to be both a sign and a sighter of life.
For several years I’ve avoided growing the various Corydalis that require more specialist treatment. I’ve preferred to grow the species that are happy in the open garden; not the plants that require the shelter of the greenhouse, or dry spells in the summer, or any other such cosseting. At some point over the past year, something changed and I started to entertain the idea of growing such species as Corydalis popovii (from section Leonticoides of the Corydalis genus, for those of you who are interested). Curiosity, the relish of a new challenge, obsession, or that most human of traits: owning stuff – I couldn’t tell you what changed my mind, but change it did. Several months and several expensive purchases later, here we are: signs of life.
On the many challenges of growing fussy plants
… giving the impression of a Medusa’s head with a tonsure…Lidén & Zetterlund, 1997
The situation described above is one of the potential pitfalls of growing expensive and pernickety plants. In their defence, they are well adapted to their natural habitats, high up in the mountains across Central Asia. The tubers lie deep underground on rocky hillsides; enduring freezing winters, plentiful snowmelt in the spring, and dry summers. The main hazards for cultivation here in Birmingham seem to be that our mild, unpredictable winters confuse these hardy souls into early growth, before knocking them back with a cold spring. Given the choice, they like a cold winter with a definite end, not the four seasons in a day we so often experience. The only plant with growth currently above ground is Corydalis ledebouriana but a little rummaging around proved that C. popovii and C. sewerzovii aren’t far behind. The best I can do at the moment is to grow them in very free draining soil, deep down in tall pots. In the long run I’m aiming to create a plunge bed which should help to maintain consistent conditions for the roots.
The fact that there are any signs of life at all is a huge relief and one that I’m counting as a significant success. Step two will be to keep the little blighters alive and step three is to induce them to thrive. I will hopefully be able to keep you updated on these fronts, although consistent blogging has not been my forte of late. In the mean time, Happy New Year and thanks for popping by!