What exactly is a wildflower? I think everyone has his own definition, but mine is any plant with attractive flowers which grows and blooms without horticultural efforts. On the other hand, you could make a good argument for including any native plant – even those now under cultivation in someone’s garden. Ah, but what about perfectly lovely plants which have escaped the garden and now live free (and peaceably without threatening their neighbors) wherever they choose?
Coral Honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens) is native to North America, but is perfectly at home in many gardens, including mine. It’s going to be in spectacular full bloom in a few days, but doesn’t look half bad right now. The photo at the top of this post was taken yesterday in the kitchen garden at Tangled Branches South, where the honeysuckle twines around a rustic trellis. If you need another reason to grow it besides its obvious beauty – one word: hummingbirds! They love it. Oh, and it also has a long season of bloom. The photo below was taken in July 2009.
But what about another kind of wildflower – the one that long ago lived in someone’s garden and is still charming outside the garden?
These narcissus live at the wood’s edge. I first saw their flowers in the spring of 2007, and then noticed that they grow wild all over central Virginia. I wrote a long post about them two years ago, but the short version is that they’re a naturally-occurring hybrid of Narcissus tazetta and Narcissus poeticus which probably originated in the south of France. The Latin name in current use is Narcissus x medioluteus, but was also known as Narcissus biflorus. It’s been a resident of gardens for hundreds of years. I like to imagine that mine are descendants of a bulb brought on a long sea voyage by one of Virginia’s early colonial settlers. The illustration below is from Curtis’s Botanical Magazine, published in the late 1700s.
And yesterday in my non-garden.
Please join Gail at Clay and Limestone and other wildflower fans around the internet for more Wildflower Wednesday blog posts.