Saturday, January 03, 2009

A Solid Garden Plant

I've made no secret of my unbounded admiration for Corydalis solida; among the dozen or so cultivars we already grow here are 'Purple Beauty' and 'Dieter Schacht', pictured blooming last April. Native to central and eastern Europe into western Asia, these tuberous-rooted little woods dwellers are in the family fumariaceae, and thus cousins to the bleeding hearts, which they resemble. The pink-red strains like 'Dieter Schacht' are particularly famous, coming from the Transylvanian Alps in Romania, and used to be labeled C. transylvanica; C. 'George Baker' is the best known of the Transylvanians, being a true red. Corydalis solida is sometimes called 'bird-in-a-bush', but it would be a very small bush, as the plants are only about six inches tall. They will seed about, but my flower beds are pretty heavily mulched, so I've not yet seen any seedlings; I must remember next spring to gather some of the seeds, which is easy to forget as the plants arise, flower, set seed, and disappear underground all in a matter of a couple of months here in Iowa where hot weather can come on quickly in early summer. The foliage of C. solida is absolutely lovely, being glaucous and blue-tinged and very finely cut. If you're in an area with hot summers and have tried (and failed) to grow the blue Corydalis flexuosa, try Corydalis solida instead. Odyssey Bulbs has a particularly nice selection available in their fall list.

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This is one plant family I'd really like to explore. Thank you for the great-looking link!!! I'm going to bookmark this post. We're knee-deep in a 2nd Christmas celebration and I don't want to lose this information! :-)
Shady... they are a real great addition to spring!
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