Lobelia cardinalis is one of those plants we haven't had much luck with growing over the years, but we keep on trying in different spots, hoping that we'll eventually find somewhere it's truly happy in the garden. After having had several plants fail on us in other areas in the front garden, we planted this one in the woodland garden near one of the hollies two years ago, hoping that the generally moist soil in that part of the garden would be able to sustain it.
Well it has done better than others but still doesn't seem perfectly happy where it is ... it came back and bloomed a bit last year, then as it got drier in the fall, just disappeared. I looked for signs of it in late spring and didn't see anything, so I just figured there goes another one. Maybe we should just give up on this one ....
One day last week when I was opening the blinds in the dining room I happened to look out on to the woodland garden (unfortunately engulfed by weeds and daturas right now!) and spotted a patch of crimson ... the Lobelia was still alive and putting up a few bloom stalks! So maybe there's hope for this plant yet, since it managed to come up amongst some pretty bad weeds (things got away from us a bit in July, as usual), I guess we should encourage it a bit more and perhaps plant a few new ones next year. That splash of brilliant red right in the front of the holly is really impressive! If you look closely at this shot, you can see holly berries forming behind it ... of course they're still green at this point, but if that plant does anything like it did last year, it will soon be covered with ripening berries to carry us over into the fall and winter. As our garden sensei says: The only thing better than red is more red!
Photo courtesy of Fernymoss. Taken 5 August 2007, using the flash.