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

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Wildflower Wednesday~~Let's Be Honest About Honesty!

Lunaria annua Spring 2009
It's not a native wildflower!
It just acts like one in my garden.


"That's a lovely bunch of flowers!" said a neighbor I passed on the street a few months back.
It's an introduced species from the mustard family!

I looked at the 'bouquet' of lunaria annua seedpods that a neighboring gardener had given me and suppressed my urge to respond with anything other than a smile and thanks.

It's not invasive in Tennessee, but it does seed itself about a garden.
It looks lovely in a woodland setting or natural garden
.

There was no way to explain that the lunaria seed heads were beautiful in my eyes. Seed heads of most plants have an unconventional charm and beauty that gardeners appreciate.

The early stage might be my favorite seed look.

The subtle tans, the deep browns and even the gray coloring just before the seeds are released are not dulled and dead flowers to us.


The flowers attract long tongued bees and butterflies.
Cabbage Whites feed on the foliage


We see a flower and a garden in every seed.

That's exactly what I envisioned walking home with my bouquet of brown and mildewed seedpods...A swath of white flowers in my
It blooms in early April just before PPPP

mostly pink and lavender spring garden. ...These seedheads were special.


They were from an all white garden~~A yearned for color. There was one white Honesty plant in my garden~~Only one each season, no matter how often I spread the plant's seeds about. Cross your fingers that the gifted seedpods may grow into beautiful white lunaria.

But, even if,

Lunaria is a biennial and is known as Money Plant and Honesty

the flowers are magenta


Happiest in hardiness zones 4a to 8b
Think Garden Of Benign Neglect to get the full picture!

There's nothing to complain about.

Honestly!

Gail

Honesty is the best policy. - Miguel de Cervantes

38 comments:

  1. Honestly I think of coins when I see those seed pods in someones garden. I haven't been able to get it to grow here. Odd isn't it. I like to hear the clatter of the seedpods when the wind knocks around the dried pods.

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  2. Hi Gail, this biennial is a favorite here as well. Your sharp images are a stunning advertisement for its charms. Ours came from sweet neighor Mae, who promised some whites in with the purples. There were none, but that is fine, all are welcome. This year we ordered white seed and spread it in the spring, at the same time the plants were flinging their own around and about. White is nice, but it really doesn't matter here. Good luck with yours!
    Frances

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  3. I'm sure they will do just fine for you Gail. I do hope my PPPP looks half as good as yours!!

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  4. Psssssstt Gail ... can you send me some of those seeds ??? That plant used to be so common it was considered a weed .. but I haven't been able to get my hands on any .. I would love to see some in my garden some day ... BIG sigh !
    We are in the middle of another storm .. this one is supposed to be bigger abd badder than that last one .. at least my headache is gone for now .. phew !
    Gorgeous pictures .. I too appreciate seed heads : )

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  5. My mom always kept a vase of these in the house at winter, that and those orange Chinese lanterns.

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  6. Les, Those orange lanterns are pretty but are honestly I think~~very aggressive!

    Joy, I will!

    Gail

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  7. Ah, the elusive white honesty! Goes along with the (and I know it's invasive, but...) elusive white dame's rocket and the elusive white cosmos. Seems that any plant with white ranging to mauve in its genes will always revert to the violet. That's what makes certain plants and plant colours so very extra special. It gives us something to long for.

    Gail, that photo of a single green seedpod is stunning. You must have a steady hand as well as a good eye.

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  8. Very neat wildflowers! They look great in your woodland garden. I saw some at my parents house this Spring and collected the seed. We'll see if they end up here or not. The seed heads are as interesting as the flowers!

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  9. Hi Gail, is your clock correct...what are you doing up at 4 in the morning?! This was one of the few existing repeaters in my garden - the only problem was it bloomed at the exact moment the violent red quince did - so I set about to remove it....Noticed the other day after Kevin had been manly with the yews (I believe they regenerate, right?) that there was one lovely bunch of seed heads after all these years. I'm with Lisa - I love the sound they make when they rub against each other.

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  10. I believe you!

    BTW honesty is called Judas' Silverlings over here. To be honest I prefer the name Honesty. ;-)

    I have white, magenta and purple honesty in my garden, or I did earlier this year. Must wait and see what comes up next year.

    Off to plant some more bulbs.

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  11. It's a new name for me, although it looks familiar. Pretty flowers, and your pictures Gail are so sharp and bright, they take my mind back to summer. Thank you!

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  12. Lovely to see these images Gail as the snow falls and the cold wind slaps at the window. What beautiful light there is in every photo. Sigh . . . it will be white for a long while to come here. I particularly love your green coin all lit up with the tiny seeds showing from within. I have only grown this plant once but honestly cannot figure why I lost it. Seeing your garden inspires me to try again come spring. Carol

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  13. I'm going to have to get some honesty. I saw it first in a neighor's garden, in bloom, and thought it was so pretty. I had never thought about what honesty looked like before it became The Money Plant. Please stop and visit and leave a comment. You might win my drawing on Dec. 12. I'm Giving Away Right Rose Right Place and 2 dozen Cowpots to celebrate my 2nd blogoversary.

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  14. Gail I love Lunaria too. It's magical in part shade -- the color just glows. Your picture of the green seed pod is gorgeous.

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  15. Hi Gail! Honesty is one of our favorite reseeders here, too. The silver-green foliage is lovely when it appears in spring, and we always get the full spectrum of flower color, from magenta through white. It's such a great color echo with our Dame's rocket, lamium, and phlox. And since gardeners and crafters seem irresistibly drawn to its silver seed heads, it makes a great gift "bouquet," too!

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  16. Hi Gail! Honesty is one of our favorite reseeders here, too. The silver-green foliage is lovely when it appears in spring, and we always get the full spectrum of flower color, from magenta through white. It's such a great color echo with our Dame's rocket, lamium, and phlox. And since gardeners and crafters seem irresistibly drawn to its silver seed heads, it makes a great gift "bouquet," too!

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  17. Gail, I love the photos of the seedpods! Just a few years ago, I would have been like your neighbor, thinking all that brown and gray should be pulled out or cut down. But I've come to appreciate the beauty of seedheads as much as the earlier blooms. Only gardeners understand that:)

    I'll keep my fingers crossed that these lunaria seeds turn out to be white, but even if they don't, they'll look great in your GOBN.

    It's snowing here!

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  18. It's a funny thing about Lunaria--I can't GET it to seed in our garden; I've planted plants several times, and never managed to get any self seeding from it. Maybe next year I'll seed a bunch in myself, remember where they are, and see what happens. It's worth a try...or so I tell myself.
    Thank you, Gail, for your comments on Bloomingwriter. They mean a great deal to me. I'm going to stay put at blogger because as you say, it's pretty darn easy for the most part.

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  19. I've been thinking about Honesty lately, as its seedpods are an important plot element in a book I'm reading to the boy, Frances Hardinge's "Fly By Night." I'd be perfectly happy with the magenta blooms. It's a charming plant.

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  20. Oh, how lovely! The pinks and purples are very nice, but I'm thinking the white blossoms would be perfect in my all white garden in the front of the house. I must look for some...I foresee some after Christmas seed searches and purchase (hopefully) in my future! Thanks for the interesting post.

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  21. The lunaria seed pods look like coins hanging down the plant. LOL! Money Plant.
    Lovely white and pinks!

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  22. Good luck with your plan. It is amazing how quickly plants can revert to the default colour. My Aquilegias always revert to a murky pink despite my best efforts. At least your Honesty is an attractive magenta

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  23. Well, even if it's a spreader it's very pretty! It looks a little like phlox.

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  24. Hi Gail, Such a "common" plant but so beautiful. I like that it blooms so early when garden flowers are scarce. It's supposed to be scented but I've never been able to detect it.

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  25. I love the green coin! It snowed today where I am so seeing some garden color really brightened my day.

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  26. I think of coins when I see those seed pods too. Beautiful pictures and I will be crossing my fingers that you get some white blooms.

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  27. Gail, you did an especially good job on writing this post. It was a very pleasant read.

    If the gifted seeds have any sense (or cents? money plant), they'll grow into beautiful plants in your garden and give you lots of white blooms.

    Honesty is the best policy. Are you sure Miguel de Cervantes said that? I thought it was Tiger. Wait...he said, Honesty is NOT the best policy. What a Cheetah!

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  28. Those mustard family members do spread a lot because they just have so darn many and tiny seeds. The Lunaria looks really similar to dame's rocket (HESPERIS MATRONALIS) which is officially invasive here. I guess quite a few things look similar to Lunaria. But I don't think you need to explain loving the seed heads--heck, they're often sold as dried flowers for arrangements! I've even seen them as silk flowers.

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  29. This is another plant I've long wanted and just never got around to planting. Really, I had no idea the flowers were so pretty. I just thought everyone planted it for the coin-like seed pods.
    Marnie

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  30. marnie, I really don't care about the coin like seed pods...and planted it for the flowers!

    gail

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  31. Gail what a wonderful post explaining this charming little pod of seeds that I've seen and wondered what are they! That photo of the garden is sure Bliss!
    hugs aNNa

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  32. I had planted some lunaria seeds in my front bed late last summer, but they didn't survive the winter. I found some that I planted this spring, and then my neighbor needed hers thinned, so I planted some across the street and added a couple to the front bed. They grew nice and big, and turned a pretty color this fall. I am thinking I will have some pretty blooms next year. That white sure is pretty. I hope you get more white ones next year. I'm thinking I should plant some more seeds in the spring so they will bloom the next year. I wonder if the seedheads I've had a few years would grow.

    I hope your thumbs are doing OK and you aren't in pain over the holidays.

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  33. Thanks for stopping by my blog. It's amazing..I lived most of my life in the N..New England...and never noticed the frost flowers. Thanks for sharing.

    www.wildlifearoundus.blogspot.com

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  34. I wonder if everyone realizes how much they would save ($) in using your idea of native gardening. I no longer buy plants that are not native..they last longer and feed the native species of bugs and birds etc that depend on them.

    www.wildlifearoundus.blogspot.com

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  35. I planted this about 20 years ago next to our back deck. When we replaced the deck, I figured it was gone. The next year, a few plants showed up in front of the house and down a hill. When we took out a few trees, it spread. I keep an eye out for it but it appears not to go into the woods where it might compete with native plants. It is beautiful in early spring.

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  36. I'll had that in quite a few places in my garden this year. I pulled it out just after it flowered cause i didn't want it to go to seed. I'm putting in lots of edibles in my gardens next year along with the ornamentals. I didn't want the volunteers--they are very pretty.

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  37. I once got seed of variegated white honesty from the American Horticultural Society's seed exchange. Two plants grew and set a bit of seed, but never got more plants. Sigh.

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  38. I think the seedheads are the real reason to grow them. They make such great fall bouquets. I have been trying to draw them without much success. (If I capture them in a drawing then I can toss the actual seedheads which are taking up a chunk of space in my basement!)

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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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