Home of the Practically Perfect Pink Phlox and other native plants for pollinators

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

A Central Basin Wildflower Favorite!

Scorpion Weed in the garden this week

My dear friends, I am out with a strained back muscle. No, not from gardening, but over doing a  gym workout while  trying to get in shape for gardening! (I love the  irony)  I thought you might like this old post...(correction:editor: it had 2 comments and Tina commented twice, Frances once)   I was thrilled that you read it.  Don't you love the little photos all in a row!  I will leave the  three photos as there were originally posted,  and  add another one or two!  Please enjoy~~Phacelia is a wonderful wildflower.   Have a lovely day! Gail






Purple Phacelia (Phacelia bipinnatifida) Scorpion Weed

This sweet lavender-blue flowered biennial is one of my favorites. The divided and toothed leaves have a mottled purple coloring. It has an open and loose branching that gives it a delicate appearance. The flowers are small but numerous and bloom from the bottom up. It blooms April through May and reseeds quite nicely. Don't worry it isn't a thug. Since, it's a shallow rooted plant, you can easily move the seedlings.


I think it looks lovely by it self, but it is more effective when planted in drifts across the woodland garden. It looked especially nice on a hillside in a friend's garden. She gardens on a steep slope and each spring there are lovely drifts of lavender blue.

If you want it to be at home in your garden plant it in a low, moist spot. Fluffing up the soil with some good compost will help. Being a biennial expect Phacelia to take 2 years to become fully established.


My Garden: It's happy in two spots; in the shade of a witch hazel

tucked beneath H x  intermedia 'Diane'
and in a small wildflower garden. The soil is thin and rocky but there is enough moisture to keep it happy and I occasionally water them. I have tried to get it to grow in other parts of the garden, but seedlings didn't survive transplanting and broadcast seeds failed to sprout. Moisture is a definite must have for this wildflower. The middle photo is a second year plant and will flower this spring, it has a much more pronounced purple mottled color than the photo of Phacelia I took at the Ashland City Greenway (last photo).


Duration: Biennial
Bloom time: April through May
Flower Color: Lavender blue
Height: 1 to 2 feet
Soil: rich, moist woodlands
Exposure: Shade
Origin: Native to US


I think this is an under used native wildflower that can give your woodland an extra bit of color. So give it a try.

Gail


If you've never been thrilled to the very edges of your soul by a flower in spring bloom, maybe your soul has never been in bloom. ~Audra Foveo

38 comments:

  1. It is delicate and lovely, even the foliage is pretty.
    Marnie

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  2. Gail, I understand the irony. Please take care! (In your case, it's probably a little more torturous, as you have Spring Weather already!)

    You sent me some of this plant's seeds. I will look forward to trying to grow another of your favorites here in Iowa! :-)

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  3. Marnie,

    I think you can grow this one Marnie...It is a sweetie pie plant...

    Gail

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  4. Hi Shady,

    I forgot! My wildflower propogating book says...It's fast growing so transplant it to the garden as soon as it shows up... I hope the seeds are viable!

    Gail

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  5. I love the blooms and a beautiful saying. It reminds me of the Kiss Me Quick Blooms, which had to get out of my garden.

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  6. Well, some of us just have to be happy with six comments. :) Sorry about your back! Hope it's better soon. I gave up on the gym when it put me in the hospital once. Scorpion weed, sounds scary! But looks gently lovely. Masses and drifts, two things I will probably never have in my city garden, but I love to see them where people have more space to let the plants have some elbow room! Thanks for the re-post.

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  7. Ouch, Gail! So sorry and hope your back heals soon. Am not familiar with Purple Phacelia but its lovely!

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  8. I just love the foliage on it. It's a native wildflower? Amazing.

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  9. Gail, I'm envious. The NC Botanical Garden has large drifts of Scorpion Weed in their Mountain section and it's gorgeous.

    I'm going to try again this year -- must remember not to mulch over them..

    I'm sorry to hear about your back. :( That type of injury can be very painful.

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  10. What beautiful blooms for such a scary sounding plant! I hope your back shapes up soon.

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  11. Irony indeed:) At least you've tried exercising. Me, I've been too laid up all winter with back & neck problems to even exercise:( I went yesterday and got 4 cortisone shots in my lumbar and neck/shoulder area. I have to do that a couple of times a year. It's not 'good' to do often but I have no other options. I've done everything (meds, p.t., and finally a pain mngt specialist)--

    You know how I screwed up my back in the first place? With all the hard work I did in my garden! Lifting, bending, carrying etc. --doing something you LOVE and screwing up your ability to do it because you did it in the first place. I guess it's not ironic, it's just sad:(

    I have lots of backyard (and side yard) shade. Along with other shade-loving plants I'm learning about, this sounds great. I'm looking in to VA wildflowers right now too. I have areas that are just great for a woodsy-wildflower garden. Glad to learn of a new one:)

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  12. I hope your back feels better Gail! It's a pretty neat looking little wildflower. I'll have to look but it might be in the backyard, it does look familiar.

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  13. Jan,

    I can totally relate to your back issues...mine was brought on by rock lifting! I do work out but occasionally have to stop and let my body rest. Chronic pain's wear on the spirit is horrendous.

    This one may be hard to locate, but I did get seeds from Native Gardens and Nursery in Greenback TN.

    Native wildflowers are just so wonderful...Sweetbay also has this cutie pie plant i her garden and might know a source for seeds. I never manage to remember to collect them!

    Gail

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  14. Dave, I hope you have it...maybe this year I will remember to save the seeds...gail

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  15. Hi Gail, I hope your back is feeling better soon. Gee, I am a disadvantage here as I don't know what I commented about last time. Probably something about learning so much from you about all these great wildflowers. Sweetbay has also posted about Scorpion weed. Not sure if I can grow it but I'd sure try. Gro wild here I come...

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  16. I've always heard of scorpion weed but wasn't sure what it was exactly. Very pretty. I hope your back gets better!

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  17. Hi Gail, evil gym! Better to do your exercise in the garden and actually accomplish something. I have a thing about gyms anyway. I hope your neck and or back were only overworked and will recover with rest. Like Tina, since I already commented once, don't remember what was said, but that I like that little flower. But moist soil, don't have it! Is the pig holding the camera? Too funny!
    Frances

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  18. Frances, You two were my only commenters back then! So loyal and dear to me! It would wonderful on your hill... over by the Knot garden...it looks shadier over there...but the moisture needs are high.

    Thanks, on the neck....it must have been this one machine I upped the weights on...oh vanity!

    Gail

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  19. Oh, I hope you're up and about soon! I avoid the gym at all costs ... Your Scorpion Weed made me think of Heuchera foliage. Very cool name, though.

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  20. That plant does indeed look pretty. I also hope you get to feeling better. Your blog is nice, I just moved to Florida last June from Kentucky and have been looking for blogs in Kentucky or in states close to KY.

    Have a great day,

    Jake

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  21. I hope that you feel better soon. :)

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  22. Gail, I hope your back heals soon -- it can make you feel miserable. This is a darling little wildflower -- I really like those dark, burgundy leaves and the blooms are sweet!

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  23. I'm always glad when you re-post early entries Gail, since I missed a lot of those. It's a beautiful wildflower ~ I bet the insects enjoy it too. I wish I had enough space to plant a lot of things in drifts but luckily there is always room to squish in one or two.
    All the best for a speedy recovery from the back strain. I know what that's like too. I've been out cutting grasses and started to feel that so I knew to quit for the day. Let us know how you're doing.

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  24. So sorry to hear you are ailing! Ironic indeed! Rest and be well. Enjoyed this post and love that end quote!

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  25. You have an eye for photography!!! Wonderful work.. thank you for sharing your love for gardening with us.
    Stop by my garden sometime.

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  26. Great info on the little plant and what a wonderful quote!

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  27. Gail, I do hope you are feeling better soon! I keep thinking I'd better up the number of times a week I exercise before gardening season starts, too.

    I always enjoy your posts about wildflowers; I've learned so much from them!

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  28. Oooh, so sorry about your injury Gail! Hope you're soon feeling better.

    Scorpion weed has a pretty little bloom, and the foliage is great too!

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  29. Tsk, tsk, shakes head in wonder. Why do you need to go to the gym to strain a back muscle? You could just as easily stayed at home and strain it while gardening. ;-)

    Love the pretty purple Phacelia!

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  30. Get well soon, the garden awaits your back! Yep, the irony was a bit much for me this morning. lol. I am laughing with you and not at you as that sounds like something I would have done… Cute as can be little pretty there...

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  31. Oh my, Gail. I am a total sucker for this color foliage. I will enjoy your Scorpion Weed as you preview it for us.

    I am SO sorry to hear you've injured your neck. How very frustrating.So not a good time to be laid up with injury. I wish you the best and have said a prayer for your speedy recovery. Do take the time to heal so you can really enjoy the spring that is soon to come! *hugs*
    Meems

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  32. Gail,
    I hope you are feeling better soon! I just love your Phacelia - the foliage is gorgeous, and I can't seem to pass up anything purple! ;)

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  33. My dear friends,

    I am greatly improved...and sitting at the computer is not bad! Thank you for your kind well wishes...I will be at your blogs as soon as possible!! Gail

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  34. Oh poor Gail! I'm glad you're much improved and hope you'll be completely better soon. I can greatly empathize with back pain as I've hurt mine several times, a couple severely..so I'm very careful these days!
    The Phacelia is adorable and such a pretty color. It's new to me and I always love to learn about new plants.
    Take care of yourself!

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  35. Such a pretty plant, Gail, with such a not-pretty name! Isn't it funny how some plants are so lovely and are given such unattractive common names? We can grow phacelias only as annuals here, although one of them reseeds itself for a few years unless the gardener inadvertently pulls it out...

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  36. My dear Gail, I'm sitting here with a strained NECK muscle. No, not from gardening, but over doing a gym workout while trying to get in shape for gardening! Does it sound familiar? Same same but different.
    It is silly isn't it.
    Love your post as always.

    I wish you a happy and 'springish' weekend.

    xoxo Tyra

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  37. I knew there must be a good reason not to go to the gym! But glad to read that you're feeling a bit better. The Phacelia sounds like it could live happily in my woods - thanks for reposting.

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Let us be grateful to people who make us happy;
they are the charming gardeners
who make our souls blossom.


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