Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Non-native hybrid love

It's true: I'm no native plant purist. I have box-store hybrids in my garden, and this beauty is the star of that show. It's a purple columbine which I likely purchased at either Lowe's or Home Depot, and for the past three years it has performed like a champ in nearly full shade.
Purple columbine

Its lush foliage rebounds each February, unfazed by the driest, coldest winters.
Columbine foliage

And each March, it bursts forth with dozens of gorgeous, purple blooms that last for weeks.
Purple columbine

No pesticides, no fertilizer, and very little watering, yet this little no-name box-store columbine outperforms my 'superstar' Texas Gold columbine (also a hybrid) by miles. I wish I'd gotten a dozen of them. But who knew?

What non-native hybrid are you lovin' in your garden this spring?


Words and photos © 2009-2011 Caroline Homer for "The Shovel-Ready Garden". Unauthorized reproduction is prohibited.

10 comments:

  1. I didn't realize there was a purple columbine. I've only see the yellow and red-yellow ones. I have a shady bed where purple columbine would be perfect. I'll have to keep an eye out for them next year. Thanks for the heads up.

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  2. I saw the columbine for sale, but didn't know how well they would grow in Texas. If I see any more I'm going to grab some! They are beautiful - and that purple one is gorgeous!

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  3. It's beautiful -- I can see why you are so proud of it. And no muss-no fuss. That's the kind of plant we all want to have. I've had no luck with Columbines, but this spring I do have 2 tiny babies and 1 bought Hinkley's that survived the winter. We'll see how they survive summer. As to the native question - I plant anything I think is pretty!

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  4. I'm so glad to hear this...I saw the purple variety at Lowe's and didn't purchase it because I thought it would be too finicky. I'll reconsider!

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  5. If anyone finds out the name of this little doll, let me know.

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  6. Who knew indeed? It's lovely, and what a nice surprise about its performance. (My yellows are doing nothing this year.)

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  7. I wish I could grow these! Very nice and rare indeed.

    Hey, thanks for putting Tropical Texana on your blogroll. That's very nice of you.
    Happy Gardening.
    David :-)

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  8. What an absolute beauty! Native or not, it deserves a spot in your garden. Lovely photos!

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  9. Wonderful, beautiful! Those are great photos, Caroline. One of these years, I'm going to get around to columbines in my garden. My wife's favorite flower is the red columbine, which I heard do well here...

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  10. Caroline, that's gorgeous. I'm so excited to hear that it returns for you, because I just bought a purple and white one from Whole Foods this year. I'll cross my fingers that it will return. I also can't grow the Hinckley's columbine - I've killed it many times. I am, however, having luck with "Denver Gold", which is yellow like Hinckley's with a longer tail. It is STILL blooming, well into April and covered with blooms on several plants. I love these plants, so I'm excited to think I might get a return next year from the purples. thanks for the post.

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