Saturday, January 24, 2009

Flowers in the dead of winter!

One of the things I love about living in North Carolina is that in the dead of winter, spring is never really far off. The end of January in zone 6 was just a prelude for what was to come. Here in NC I am getting a bit anxious upon seeing definite signs of spring. Daffodils are popping up here at work and at home some fall planted species tulips are putting out some green.

While the recent snow was beautiful, I had my fill of snow while in Connecticut at Christmas time. I'm ready to start planting again. Soon we will be receiving shipments of new stock that will have to be potted up and brought into our inventory and lets not forget the four-packs started from seed. That is always my favorite time of the year. Each day like Christmas. Each box holding a new surprise.

Today while at work I found myself in the 4th, or was it 5th? greenhouse looking for the owner to ask him a question that was poised to me by one of our dedicated customers in regard to the humidity of our greenhouses. I didn't find John but I did stumble across...or maybe it was stopped in my tracks by.. a couple of late bloomers happily blooming away not five feet from each other.

This is the one that stopped me in my tracks. The flowers were very showy. Reminded me of a gloxinia in their size. A quite sturdy flower that even though plucked from its mama, remained perfect and lovely throughout the day. Its botanical name is Ruellia macrantha and I am finding through further research at home that it is only hardy to zone 9. I have read that it makes a very sturdy houseplant and all that we had in four inch pots seemed very healthy and happy. I have also read they like to be kept evenly moist so might be good for the overzealous indoor gardener. I brought one home to plant outside but am discovering that this one might be best in a container brought into the house in winter where it will bloom much like the gloxinia when not much else is. So I will pot it up and put it near an eastern facing window since it performs as well in sun as in semi-shade.

When going back into the greenhouses to get myself one of these lovely ruellia (flowering plants glimpsed in the greenhouses are best bought upon discovering them since in the next moment here at BB's you might happen upon something else fast enough to make you forget what you were seconds ago unable to live without). Did I just say that out loud? Anyway, walking back with my ruellia in hand, I noticed not five feet away a Sabatia bartramil, 'Bartram's Pink Gentian' also in full bloom.

After doing some research at home I am almost sure these plants are mislabeled since this looks nothing like the Sabatia that is showing up under a google search. I'm off for a couple of days but when I get back to work I will talk to John and the greenhouse girls to see if we can get this mystery solved.


dAwN said...

I guess it is nice to have those beautiful blooms in the house...especially when it is cold and snowy outside..
I will stay tuned to see if the mystery is solved.

beachgrl said...

Maybe it is Russelia sarmentosa, check out this link.