Thursday, August 7, 2014

Lupinus albifrons is my favorite plant in the garden (this week)…



I went out to do some watering the other morning and realized the leaves on my Lupinus albifrons were facing towards me, back at the house, to the east. Just the day before I'd been admiring them as I walked up the pathway and they were facing completely west. You've gotta love a plant that is so attuned to the light.

This photo (below) was my first ever sighting of Lupinus albifrons, at Portland Nursery back in 2012. It was growing in a display container and there were none for sale.

I hunted for one all spring and summer of 2013 and finally gave up and ordered a plant from Annie's Annuals. Here's a photo from late October of that year, it's all nestled into it's fall/winter holding home, it was such a such a tiny little thing (front row).

I've always been a sucker for the shape of a lupine leaf, add in the silver sheen to these and wow, it was a must have!

Planted as it is over a patch of black mondo grass (Ophiopogon planiscapus 'Nigrescens') the combo can look like a black and white photo...

This is where I should probably mention the main attraction for most people isn't those lovely leaves, it's the crazy big purple flowers. I have no need to see those flowers, I hope mine never blooms!

The stats:
  • hardy in USDA Zones 8-10
  • eventual size 3ft x 4 ft
  • low water needs, drought tolerant
  • likes full sun and lean, well drained soil
  • attracts butterflies and is deer resistant - Annie's says "When plants are young they may not have built up enough of the alkaloids that gives them a bitter taste & deters deer. Protect young plants until established"
  • native to California but can be found in other areas of western North America

According to Native Sons Nursery "this shrubby lupine often develops a gnarled trunk with age" oh I hope so...

My fellow blogger Tamara took the photo below on a neighborhood walkabout here in Portland last fall. After I inquired about it's location (and if I could use her photo) she walked by to see how it was looking, sadly it was nowhere to be found. Removed by the whim of a gardener or did our bad winter put an end to it? I'm hoping it was the former. So that's what's looking good and catching my attention this week, how about you?

All material © 2009-2014 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.

26 comments:

  1. I'm one of those weirdos who likes Lupine flowers, but I do also like the foliage. Mine seem to attract a lot of aphids, so I tore a bunch out a couple of years ago, the only one left is a native. Here's a link to my fave this week: http://bonneylassie.blogspot.com/2014/08/favorite-plant-quickie.html

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    1. I think you're in the majority there Alison, I'm the weirdo!

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  2. Oh that's lovely!

    I have one, but it's not silver, and I have to treat it as an indoor plant here.

    My Black Mondo grass aspires to look like yours, poor things.}:P

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    1. So yours is a Lupinus albifrons but it's not silver? What color are the leaves? That mondo grass patch was made from divisions of my other plants and it's just taken off, it's very happy there.

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  3. Beautiful plant Loree! My favorite plant in the garden this week is RAIN. Okay, not a plant but since we finally got a decent soaking (after less than 1" over the past 2 months) there's nothing I like more right now. :D

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    1. I hear ya! We got a good downpour the week after the Fling but it's been back to the dry days ever since. My hose is getting a good workout.

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  4. It's going on my Annie's wish list! Here's my favorite this week: http://krispgarden.blogspot.com/2014/08/my-favorite-plant-of-week-coleus.html

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    1. Yay, seems like it would be very happy in your garden.

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  5. Lovely plant and great foliage too. After a break for a while we join in again with our favourite plant of the week - http://www.alternativeeden.com/2014/08/favourite-plant-of-week-plectranthus.html

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    1. I just read your comment on Kris' post about your fav being similar, so I'm off to see what it is...

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  6. Good grief, native to my very own neighborhood. It's must have for me now, though I won't mind a bit if it blooms.

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    1. Yay! You should probably get a couple.

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  7. A great little plant, going to have to be added to my wish list.

    I'm cheating a bit this week and selecting the whole echeveria agavoides group of plants as my favourite. http://spikyobsession.blogspot.co.uk/2014/08/echeveria-agavoides-is-my-favourite.html

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    1. Not cheating at all, I love the chance to see different forms like this all together.

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  8. How did I miss this ? These are killer leaves for sure ! No t only did I miss it during my Fling visit, I've missed it on numerous visits to Annies. I'll be pondering a location for this one...

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    1. Good question! Although I suppose here in my garden it probably had something to do with all the people.

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  9. I do like that. I like lupins leaves but find they get quite ugly after flowering and I'm not that keen on the flowers anyway. I like that these are smaller and grey. Am having abit of a grey and burgundy thing at the moment.

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    1. I'd be curious to know if you can find it over in your part of the world.

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  10. It looks especially nice with the mondo grass!

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  11. Wow! Lupins have always grown wild in paddocks here (and the seeds/grains of course are stock feed). In the UK we saw lots, and I must say it was the flowers in that case that drew me in to get a closer look to then realise what they were! I hadn't thought of them that way until then, and now, I'm seeing another side yet again. These are incredible, I've never seen them such a silver colour. The photo third from the end is so cool (and magical against the mondo grass).
    http://crmbsgrdn.blogspot.com.au/2014/08/my-favourite-plant-in-garden-this-week.html

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    1. It's a sight to see the wild ones blooming here along the roadsides, I don't dislike like the flowers, I just don't want anything to get in the way of that foliage!

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  12. I like lupine flowers, like the native Lupinus polyphyllus that once turned a field at our house into a purple-blue pond (mowing and the natural progression of the field have much reduced the lupine) but it's not something I would ever intentionally plant for the flowers.

    This Lupinus albifrons, on the other hand... Oh, wow, those leaves are gorgeous! It looks every bit as silvery as Convulvulus cneorum. I like the foliage better than the flowers for my favorite this week, too. http://practicalplantgeek.blogspot.com/2014/08/alyssum-spinosum-is-my-favorite-plant.html

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    1. I finally pulled out my one Convulvulus cneorum, it just never looked as good as the day I planted it.

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  13. I love the leaves of lupines our Texas Blue bonnets have the similar leaf but that silver color is amazing! I remember hiking through the mountains and foothills in California seeing the wild lupines. I wonder if I can grow them here? I get the not worrying about seeing the flowers. The longer I garden them more I have become a leaf person ) My latest love is my new White Ghost Candelabra Plant, Euphorbia lactea 'White Ghost', I got it at our garden club plant swap this week. It is just too cool for words...I will be blogging about it soon! It is probably dangerous enough for you garden. I am going to keep it in a pot because we have been having some periods of freezing weather the last several years.

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    1. OMG, now I must have a Euphorbia lactea 'White Ghost'...that is amazing!

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