Saturday, May 15, 2010

Zonal Envy Bloomday

You’ve probably figured out by now that I suffer a bad case of zonal envy. I push the boundaries and try to grow things that are a little beyond my zone 8 garden. There are times however when the particular object of my affection is simply not available in my area, or as is the case here even if I could get the plant, getting it to bloom is another thing entirely.

It’s in this spirit that I’m doing a Zonal Envy ‘special edition’ Bloomday, and sharing with you a few of my substitutions. Blooms “in the spirit of” another…

I would love to be able to grow Pincushion Protea or Leucospermum, and I envy those who can.Instead I’ve got Grevillea juniperina 'Low Red' … the flowers are smaller, but actually quite similar.
Aloe blooms are to die for. So full of energy! This Aloe Candy Corn and its multiple blooms are spectacular! (photo from Reuben at Rancho Reubidoux, used by permission)
My Kniphofia blooms, like this one, are as close as my garden can come.
Bougainvillea and its paper petals is another exotic favorite.
Can the bright pink blossoms of my plain old Rhododendron hope to compete? Perhaps.
Bougainvillea close-up
So what is my Echium ‘Pride of Madeira’ a substitute for?
Itself. The big, shrub sized, version of itself. I’ll never have that in my garden so growing this beauty as an annual will have to do. A single bloom rather than the multiples on what it could be…

There are only two other blooms that I want to share with you this bloomday. Neither are remotely exotic even with my rose colored glasses on, but I love them still. First Solomon’s seal. The foliage alone is more than enough reason to grow this plant. But look at these sweet little blooms!
And look at the cute fuzzy orange bottomed bee that’s enjoying them! (while Lila looks on in the background)
And a small patch of the Saxifraga x urbium 'Aureopunctata' blooms remains. The rest have fallen victim to the clippers, but I’m still enjoying these.
So back to my original topic, zonal envy (not to be confused with zonal denial, which requires a whole different set of coping mechanisms)…do you have it? And if so how do you cope?


  1. Nice twist on GBBD! I'm in Zone 8B, and can get away with some species of Aloe, but have pulled back a bit from pushing the limits as things will do great for a few years, then we'll get a freak cold night and all the almost-hardy-enoughs get zapped. Disappointing, and expensive! So I cope by avoiding plants that aren't going to be able to tough it out, thus avoiding the disappointment. I still have a few holdouts from my zone-pushing days, which get frost cloth or even Christmas lights at night to keep the frost at bay, but that's become so time-consuming I've decided to stop adding plants that require so much coddling.

  2. Zonal envy? Yes I have it - I wish I were in zone 8! Even our Rhododendrons in zone 5 don't grow as large as yours. How do I cope? Well, this year I'm growing a Bougainvillea and a somewhat hardy (maybe winterable in a garage) banana (Musella lasiocarpa) that you would have no problem with in zone 8. So I guess denial is how I cope with my Zone envy :)

    Nice pictures & happy bloom day!

  3. Beautiful garden! I don't often get zonal envy ( zone 8 rocks!) but I do wish we had a longer growing season. La sigh.

  4. Wow, you have some lovely and unique blooms I haven't seen or heard of before. Thanks for sharing!

  5. While there a few things I wish I could grow, but can't (Protea, Lupines, Bismark Palm), there is so much I can grow that I don't normally push the zone envelope. Happy GBBD!

  6. You've done great with substitutions. I agree that the aloe blooms are very fine.

  7. Now I've got zone envy for your zone envy... That grevillea is amazing. Whatever will I do here in zone 5? I am, however, coping with my echium envy -- I've got two hardy species (russicum and lusitanicum) getting ready to bloom for me pretty soon.

  8. Maybe it's time to get going on a little greenhouse...

  9. AnonymousMay 17, 2010

    Zonal envy...hmm... You're right, Loree. It takes on a whole different set of brain waves.

    The Rhodie passes for about two minutes, at which time the dang petals fall off and make a royal mess and the whole plant needs to be deadheaded to remove those ugly clustered petioles. Not fun. But then the Bougainvillea
    has thorns. A trade off, I suppose.

    This just makes me all the more determined to protect my semi-tenders from the ravages of winter.

    Awesome Echium by the way.

  10. I enjoyed your "switcheroo" theme for Bloom Day. Great idea for gardening and blogging about it.

  11. Les, god I hear you! Expensive for sure. I've been tempted to try the Christmas lights route but without a power source outside it would be difficult.

    Andrew, I'm sorry. Coming from a 5 and having a mom that's still there I totally understand. I had a beautiful HUGE Musella lasiocarpa for a few years. Back to back freak winters did it in. But not before I got to see it bloom. Good luck with yours!

    Laura, longer growing season? Me too. Like Feb - Nov ....these long cool wet springs are for the birds.

    min hus, thanks for visiting!

    Les, Lupines really? But my mom has beautiful ones in Spokane, zone 5...ok I need to go check out exactly where you are and what your zone is!

    Sylvana, they are so fireworks like aren't they!?

    Greensparrow, I've got a few Echium russicum with the promise of gathering seeds from another. I love hearing that they are hardy for you...that means me too!

    PortlandGardenGeek, someday. We have plans...busting out the back of the will be AMAZING!

    Grace, I have a friend coming for the weekend...and wouldn't you know it but the stupid Rhody's will be in the wilt and look like hell stage for her visit. It's a love hate relationship with those plants. I'd take the thorns...but I'm dangerous that way.

    Pam, damn...I wish I would have called it that...the "Bloomday switcheroo" good!


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