Journeyers, thanks for your help with identifying the assortment of flowers that we've inherited at Easter House. Coming from New York City, I specialized in shade plants. Hostas. Ferns. Moss. It's been a pleasure watching the sun coax all sorts of pretty things out of the soil around my home's foundation.
Plant #1: Peonies
Yes, I've got peonies! Now I get to wait in delicious hope to see what cultivar they are. Are they the pink and frilly "Fairy's Petticoat"? Or the white flowers of "Charlie's White," which look like they glow with a butter center? Whichever they are, I hope they smell good.
Some of you thought it may have been rhubarb. "I, too, yearned for peonies, but got rhubarb!" Paula Pyzik Scott shared with me. Gina Fuentes Walker had wished for me the spring veggie. "Rhubarb pie is awfully tasty," she reminded me. She's right, you know. Maybe next season, in my raised beds, some rhubarb.
Plant #2: Columbine
"Definitely Columbine," Amy Dahn wrote me. "After it blooms and the pods dry, sprinkle the seeds in other areas!" I've got blue ones and pink ones, and even a pale whiteish-pink. They're all over the north side of the house, in clumps of twos and threes. The flowers are so unique. The unfurled blossoms, seen in the photo above, remind me of dragon's heads. Not that I've ever seen a dragon.
Plant #3: Bleeding hearts
I didn't seek input for this one a few weeks ago, in my initial "whatsis?" plant query, but I knew enough not to think it a weed. I knew that mitten-shaped leaf meant something special. Dicentra spectabilis comes in darker red flowers, too, but I like the magenta ones. Here's something I just learned: the flowers are borne on racemes. A raceme is an unbranched, indeterminate (meaning, growth that is not terminated) type of inflorescence (a cluster of flowers on a branch or a system of branches) in which the flowers are borne on pedicels (short stalks, like pedestals, but without all the moral hazards), lying along a common axis. Lily of the valley has racemes. So do snapdragons.
Plant #4: Geranium
"This is the true Geranium, not to be confused with the annual Pelargonium one sees everywhere in summer," sniffs White Flower Farm. Something about that phrase, "one sees everywhere," makes me think WFF doesn't like those big, blowsy, red balled monsters that smell like lemon and grass that we used to buy for my mom each May for Mother's Day. I like both kinds. I don't know what cultivar this is, but it sure is purdy.
Hey, friends, what would be a good companion plant for this? Shade-tolerant; white, maybe, or yellow?