|U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service|
I first saw it in person during a 2006 visit to GardenFair, held at Winterthur in Delaware, that great estate of the du Pont's. In the Quarry Garden, the lobelia was in full bloom and its bright red color was stunning. I wanted some of that.
It wasn't difficult to find lobelia to buy, but I only purchased one plant and it went into our shade garden near the house. I don't think that one even lasted one season. A couple of years later, I purchased some blue lobelia (Lobelia syphilitica) and it met a similar fate.
Then I was advised that lobelia likes to grow in clumps and if you want to successfully grow it, you'd better plant at least three together. This spring, I saw some beautiful plants at Oak Park Landscape and Water Garden Center and couldn't resist trying again.
Lobelia likes it wet and though my shade garden isn't overly so, this was a good year to grow plants that like moisture. We've had unusually regular rains so if ever I was going to have success growing lobelia, this was the year. But I didn't count on the slugs.
Here's my lobelia, with its stems chewed all to heck by what I'm guessing are those darn slugs.
Unfortunately, I didn't notice it until they'd done a fair amount of damage. The three plants were doing pretty well but I lost two stems before I decided to take action by putting sand around the base of the plants. Hopefully it's not too late to save them.
And bless it's little heart, it's trying to bloom in spite of its injuries...
If I lose my lobelia this time, I'm done. I'll just have to admire it in someone else's garden.