Wednesday, June 11, 2008

. . . and Some Things Take a Long Time to Bloom


Just after Christmas 2005, I decided to try a new thing I'd read about, called winter sowing. It sounded bizarre to me, this planting seeds in the middle of winter and putting them out in it until they started to grow in spring. Yeah, right. Grow.

But when the spring of 2006 made its appearance, so did the seedlings. I didn't have 100% success with everything I'd planted, but enough that I became a believer in winter sowing, and I've done it every year since.

One of the things I planted that first year were lupine seeds (Lupinus polyphyllus). I'd never seen lupines in real life, but I was fascinated by the tall, bubbly flower stalks in such pretty rainbow colors. When I saw seedlings appearing in the milk jug, I was a happy gardener. I transplanted them into the garden when it was the proper time, and they grew quite a bit that first year.


I'd hoped they would bloom, but by the time fall and winter came, I'd not seen a single flower. The plants were pretty enough, with their pinwheel foliage, but flowers would be nice, too. I waited patiently through the next winter, hoping the plants would survive until spring, and they did. Now that summer was here again, I could look forward to seeing my plants bloom!

Or not. Once again, they grew and were healthy, but with no signs of blooming, I wondered if I wasn't doing something right. They were planted in full sun in decent soil, but fall came, then winter, and I still hadn't seen the lupines flower.
Now two years had passed since I planted them; two summers had come and gone without flowers and I wondered if they would ever bloom.

This spring, the lupines once again survived the winter in fine shape and I didn't even think about if they'd bloom or not. I made plans to buy some plants if I came across them at one of the garden centers. Surely, their lupines would produce flowers, wouldn't they?

And then it happened.

About three weeks ago, I was spreading mulch in Max's Garden and when I came to the lupines, I noticed something. Several somethings. FLOWER BUDS! After more than two years of growing in my garden, the lupines decided it was time to let me see what color they were.

One is dark purple, while the other one that's bloomed (so far) is lighter lavender. I direct sowed more lupine seeds this spring, and I did pick up a plant at a garden center in Findlay a few weeks ago, that's supposed to be red. If it blooms, I'll find out for sure, but who knows when that might be. LOL.

In the meantime, I'm tickled purple that my lupine that I planted by seed in January 2006 is finally blooming!


16 comments:

Lisa at Greenbow said...

I think they were worth the wait Kylee. Just gorgeous. Maybe they will reseed this year so you will have succession blooming.

minhus said...

Wow you are patient! And congrats, they're lovely!

Nancy J. Bond said...

Lupines are among my favorite flowers and as I'm sure you know, they grow wild along roadsides and fields here in NS. Some of the most beautiful photos of Nova Scotia feature lupines in the foreground. I'm glad yours finally bloomed -- it seems that way with a lot of plants this year. Perhaps conditions were just right. :)

Rose said...

Beautiful lupines--they were worth the wait, weren't they!
Your last two posts remind us how gardening teaches us patience. I am often amazed how a spindly little plant one year turns into this splendid specimen the next.
Catching up on posts, I just saw your post about the tornado warnings and the wind damage--glad you came out of that ok. It's been a weird June, weather-wise, here in the Midwest.

Robin's Nesting Place said...

That is a LONG time to wait for a bloom. I'd say it was worth it! It pays to be a patient gardener. I'm glad you didn't rip them up earlier for under-performing.

miriam@mysisterdalesgarden.com said...

i'm a believer in winter sowing---but i live in the california desert so winter isn't really winter. enjoy

verobirdie said...

They were waiting, they are beautiful. Hope that from now on they will flower every year!

Katie said...

Yay! I love lupines. I had no idea they took so long to bloom. You are lucky to experience their beauty in your own yard.

Love the pictures too.

Jessica said...

congrats! Nature is so amazing:)

Shady Gardener said...

Lupines are wonderful!! I just planted one this spring. I'm going to gather the seeds to see if I can help keep them going. I learned the seeds may need help germinating before they're planted. Have fun!!

garden girl said...

Lupines are fabulous flowers. Yours are gorgeous. Congratulations on the first bloom of your winter-sown lupines. How exciting!

Babs said...

I think the best rewards in the plant world come with time. Flowers that don't bloom until their second year, lilies that double their blooms each season and tuilps that prove they have survived the winter when you think they've been eaten by critters.

Pam/Digging said...

How pretty! It's good to see this cousin of the Texas bluebonnet.

Cheryl said...

I have lupines in my garden, they do well here. Don't you just love that peppery smell....
yours were worth waiting for....they will I am sure get better and better.

Mr. McGregor's Daughter said...

Don't you love how, just when you're ready to give up on a plant, it decides to bloom for the 1st time? And then you've got to drag everybody out of the house to see it & they all look at it for about 10 seconds & say, "nice"? I'm excited for you, they are such striking flowers.

Blackswamp_Girl said...

Gorgeous, Kylee! I like how the darker purple one has lilac accents at the bottom and white at the top.

And of course they bloomed in Max's Garden. :)

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