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Archive for August 4th, 2009

Some Malvaceae

I have three members of the mallow family (proper scientific name Malvaceae) in my garden.    They came from different sources, and it pleases me to present them for your delectation.   I have been delighted by the similarities between them despite their different growth patterns.

First is a hardy hibiscus that I purchased this spring at a garden center in Springfield.   This flower is fully 10 inches in diameter, growing on stalks that are taller than I am.  This is a “hot” focal point for the July/August garden in many gardens in the area.

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Second is a  hardy wild hibiscus that was transplanted from the river banks about four years ago.   My start was liberated from a clump that was every bit of 8 feet in diameter, and  rejoiced when it decided to make itself at home on the root cellar mound, especially since many of the other starts taken at the same time did not make it.  I like its bright eye and faintly blushing petals.  This plant grows a similar height as the first above, but the flowers are only around 6 inches in diameter.

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The last is poppy mallow, Callirhoe involucrata, a lovely prairie native that I acquired from the Missouri Wildflower Nursery at least 10 years ago when I was first establishing the plantings behind the pond.   This sweet thing looks for all the world like a it is exactly the same breed of flower as the two bush hibiscuses featured above.

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However, if you were casually observing it in the garden, you might not make the connection immediately.   The poppy mallow blooms on a vine that creeps all through the garden and happily shares space with whatever else is growing there.  Rarely does it get taller than 18 inches, unless the vine has support to clamber on.  And the flowers are 1 1/2 inches to 2 inches in diameter.

Here they are glowing in the mass of vegetation behind the pond.

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And here it is intermingling with the Sweet Cecily on the other side of the same fence.

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All my callirhoe came from seedlings and/or divisions of the first plant I bought.  In spite of that, it is not invasive.   However, you can see that it requires little care, I have found it  is very drought tolerant, and can it hold its own in a garden fight.   Not a thug, but not a pushover either.

Well, tomorrow is another day.   Hope this one is good to you.

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