Flower’s blooms carry spring into summer

Published 3:57 pm Monday, June 1, 2015

The Showy Evening Primrose seeds itself vigorously each year, guaranteeing its return the following Spring and beyond.

The Showy Evening Primrose seeds itself vigorously each year, guaranteeing its return the following Spring and beyond.

The Joyful Gardener
Good morning, gardeners!
Driving around gazing at the beautiful progression of blooms leading from spring into summer, the idea is to create a magnificent plan to keep us entertained 12 months. The view is always changing, always new and always exciting, even after the umpteenth year of the same.
Right now in a neighborhood close to you are Showy Evening Primroses in full bloom. Pale to dark pink, sometimes nearly white, with darker pink veins, this common plant seeds itself vigorously each year, thus guaranteeing its return next year and longer. These lovely simple flowers stand from eight to eleven inches tall and are fairly skinny. In planning a bed for evening primroses, something a few feet long and about 4 feet wide is great.
Seed can be purchased, but a small packet is fine. One ounce of seed is perhaps 1,000 seed. The variety to look for is Showy Evening Primrose, Oenothera speciosa. There are many varieties, shapes and forms of primroses, but the one in the photo is the right one.
Now a hint. If you find a flower bed of this lovely flower, and wish to start primroses in your garden, ask the owner if, when they go to seed, you might have a few. The delightful result of this conversation is first, you have a new friend, and second you have the start of these beautiful wildflowers in your garden.
Mine came from the Storytelling garden in Jonesborough, free and open to the public. Each year when primrose blooming is over, the plants are yanked and thrown into the trash heap. One day there they were, so a bag of yanked plants came home. Scattered on the ground in a flowerbed, they were slow and few came up the first spring, but the second spring, they were back with a great burst of pink among the weeds that also came into the garden. We all love Mother Nature.
Primroses are easy to grow; there is no pruning, deadheading or all that. They enjoy sun with dappled shade, especially on hot late spring days. They are never a problem if they come up where they are not welcome. Simply yank them and go on with your life. As far as dependable and reliable, they are great Scouts. Sprinkling with water from time to time helps control mites.
If you’re looking for flowers to love, but not to work with, try Showy Evening Primrose, Oenothera speciosa. This is a flower to make folks smile. A good companion plant for evening primrose is ordinary purple Echinacea, another plant that will sort of move in slowly and continue blooming into late summer.
This wildflower is another dependable plant that is only slightly invasive. Right now, while primroses are blooming, Echinacea is growing about 2 feet tall, setting buds to open in about two weeks. The most dependable Echinacea found is the common purple. The brighter, bolder colors seem not to be as perennial as once thought. Happy Gardening Everyone
Jeanne Cope is a freelance garden writer and a UT Lifetime Master Gardener. Reach her at jeanne@jeannecope.com. Send questions and comments about her column to community@elizabethton.com.

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