Friday, July 18, 2008

Li'l Bit O' Texas in Ohio

When I mentioned earlier this year that I was growing Texas Bluebonnets (Lupinus texensis) from seed, there were more than a few skeptics. These beautiful Texas natives that are the cousins of the Lupines we typically grow here in the north, don't like heavy clay soil. Guess what we have.

We've amended the soil somewhat, but we still have basically clay, so there's Strike One. The Bluebonnets also have a somewhat long growing seasons, with just germination taking as long as 75 days. Never mind them growing large enough or long enough to flower. Strike Two, maybe even Three. But the seed packet was sold here in Northwest Ohio Zone 5 and it said they were guaranteed to grow and bloom. Outside. And I was willing to take a chance on them.


I grew perennial Lupines here for the first time when I winter sowed the seeds two winters ago. When spring came last year, there were the tell-tale leaflets growing in the milk jug and when it was warm enough to plant them out, I carefully transferred them to my garden. That year, they grew beautiful foliage. No flowers.

This year, they once again weathered the winter well and once again they grew beautiful foliage. If Lupines never flowered, I would still grow them because I like the foliage so well, but one day I noticed a flower stalk forming. It continued to grow and eventually bloomed a beautiful purple.

Since the Lupines did so well there in the garden, I sowed the Bluebonnet seeds right beside them. I figured since they were related, they might like the same things when it comes to growing conditions. They germinated fairly quickly, due to our warm moist spring, but have grown slowly.

Then yesterday, I noticed something as I was weeding around the Lupines and the Bluebonnets:

Texas Bluebonnet 7.17.08

Okay, so it isn't the most beautiful Texas Bluebonnet bloom you've ever seen, but it's not done yet and you know what? It's the very FIRST Texas Bluebonnet bloom I've ever seen and it's growing in my garden because I was willing to try growing something a little bit out of the ordinary for northwest Ohio.

I hope the flower keeps developing and opening right up to their characteristic white cap and that the other plants will bloom, too. But even if this is all I get, it was worth it.
In gardening, taking chances sometimes pays off, and really, what did I have to lose besides a packet of seeds?


Anonymous said...

Pretty cool! There's that true blue peeking out. Of course the bluebonnets in their home state are long gone, though I've seen a few freak July bluebonnets in my time. I hope yours continue to flower for you.

Cindy Garber Iverson said...

Okay, now I don't feel nearly as bad for never had any of my bluebonnet seeds sprout or produce anything. I didn't realize they were so picky. Yours is so pretty (and BLUE!).


Sky said...

good for you! and, it is such a pretty little flower.

i love delphiniums but the are so leggy and floggy (at least here) and ended up with fungus so i finally gave up and threw them away. the dwarf delephiniums which i thought i might like better acted like an annual and never returned.

Anonymous said...

Good for you, sometimes you just have to at least give something a try. The flower is gorgeous. I love Texas Bluebonnets. I grew up in Texas and they grow along the roads and highways. They are so lovely, a big mass of blue.

Unknown said...

Yay for your bluebonnets! Maybe they have paved the way for another seemingly elusive blue bloom at Our Little Acre... ??? :)

And you're so right, taking a chance on a packet of seeds is a pretty good gamble. Much better odds than buying a lottery ticket, I would think!

growingagardenindavis said...

Congratulations...for the flower AND your willingness to try for something cool!

Mr. McGregor's Daughter said...

Kudos for moving outside that planting zone of comfort & having it be a success! I wish I had more confidence to try experiments like this.

Connie said...

What a pretty blue! Congrats on getting it to grow and bloom.

Anonymous said...

This is so cool! I also managed to grow a small bluebonnet like the one in your photo in a small pot last summer here in Indiana. I'm sowing them in the garden this year, so hopefully it will work again!

Unknown said...

I'm going to give these a shot. So pretty

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