The emphemerals are back!

I realize in my very small pond I’m considered a knowledgeable fish – horticulturaly-speaking that is.  Being so, I probably should not act quite so surprised (at least publicly) when a special little plant in my garden does exactly what it is supposed to do.

Corydalis decipiens

Corydalis decipiens

“Ephemerals” are plants which have their time in the sun – or overcast cloudy day – and then quietly retire for the year.  This is an evolutionary adaptive response to take advantage of a particularly optimum growing period of the year or in response to surviving inhospitable  conditions in the growing habitat.  However, during their dormancy these plants are virtually invisible!  By all outward appearances when they wilt away in summer’s heat they look for all the world like they have simply expired.  Thus, my glee when I see signs of their resilient and perennial nature the following year.

The well-drained, sandy soil in my garden makes supporting moisture-loving plants like dark purple leafed, sexy Ligularia and Cimicifuga impossible to cultivate unless I pour on supplemental water during the summer, which I’d rather not do.  Too much time at the end of a hose, a violation of the right-plant-right-place credo, and questionable environmentally – to say nothing of expensive!

BUT!  The reliably rainy days of March & April (…and sometimes May & June~)we get here in the Pacific Northwest offer the perfect growing conditions for an entire category of plants that know how to “make hay while the sun shines” or in this case – bloom and flourish in cool, wet, soggy spring.

And so, this morning I’m off to the Northwest Horticultural Society’s annual Spring Ephemeral Plant Sale where I purchased this lovely little Corydalis solida last year.

corydalis solida

Corydalis solida 'Purple Beauty'

Environmental steward or lusting plant addict, you be the judge.

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