Tuesday, September 6, 2011
A Case of Mistaken Identity!?!
Last year, towards the end of the growing season, I was poking around one of our local nurseries and spotted some Persicaria. For some reason, last year was the year that our local nurseries decided they didn't feel like carrying any sort of Persicaria, so when I saw these 2, I snapped them up without a 2nd thought. I'd been admiring them in many of the Gardening magazines I read and had been wanting some more for my garden. The label said that this variety was 'Taurus', one of the red-flowered ones that gets about 3' tall and wide. I got it home and popped it into the expanding north border.
At the time, I remember thinking the plant seemed far more dainty and compact than most of the Persicarias I'd seen around town (mostly 'Firetail'). Most of the ones I'd been seeing had quite large leaves and very open form...their flowers were also long and wispy. My little Persicaria was short, compact and had stubby little blooms. I decided it was just young and would attain it's rightful size the following season.
Towards the end of our growing season last year, I began to get really attached to this diminutive little plant...and was kinda sad thinking that it wouldn't have the same charming scale next year. I was really happy with how it looked growing through and around the trio of Schizachyrium scorparium (Little Bluestem)...and was dreading having to move them the following year, lest they overwhelm and bury the Bluestem.
Imagine my surprise this summer when they seemed to top out around 18"...hmmm. I double-checked the tags they came with, and sure enough, they were labeled as 'Taurus'. I was now pretty sure they had been mislabeled. I looked around on the internet, but didn't have much luck figuring out what they were...and wasn't too upset...after all, now I got to enjoy them where they were. To be honest, this little plant has become one of my favorite little fillers. It's great and carefree (as long as it gets a bit of moisure-they don't like to dry out). It blooms from late June to frost, and mingles so well with other plants. It's a clumping variety that expands outward, but doesn't seem to spread (beyond light re-seeding). The leaves are quite nice even before the blooms start...and the blooms are great! They start out a rich pinkish-red, turning dark red, and finally aging to a coppery-brown as they die. I love the change of colors and the fact that all stages are present on the plants at the same time.
A few weeks ago, I spotted some more Persicaria for sale, this time it was 'Firetail'. For all intents and purposes, it's pretty similar to 'Taurus'. Above, you can see a leaf of the mystery plant on top of 'Firetail', there's quite a size difference! Seeing the two plants in my garden ('Firetail' and the unknown one) got me curious again as to the identity of the original plants. This past weekend I started to do a little internet sleuthing and think I've figured out what variety the mystery Persicaria actually is.
From the Digging Dog Nursery website:
Persicaria amplexicaulis ‘Inverleith’
A leafy, dwarf form of Persicaria amplexicaulis, this low growing cultivar has narrow foliage, crimson tapers and a refined appearance. It makes a perfect understory to late blooming Hydrangea ‘Unique’. Zone 5/6.
Size: 18" high & spreading; hardy to zone 5.
Persicaria amplexicaulis 'Inverleith' and Salvia 'Purple Rain'
So there it is, mystery solved (I think)! If you are ever in the market for something short, floriferous and full of charm, I can heartily recommend this plant!