Saturday, June 28, 2008

Presenting Torenia for Monsieur Boran2

A while back, after I maligned the über-common garden impatiens (you know, the spindly pink things?), and after hearing from a few folks who found me rather unkind, I did what I always do to try and convert those Impatiens Bound folks who think it's the only annual that will bloom in part shade to shade, I commenced my Torenia sales pitch. I admit, we only discovered this plant about six years ago, but have been sold on it ever since! One year we even had some volunteers, but that hasn't happened since, alas. I figure to get them out there by seeds, we should just plant a huge patch of it and let it go. Ah, yet another herbaceous idea to try. Too many plants, too little time ...

Now ask yourself, is plain old garden variety Impatiens (except the New Guinea strains, of course)
really this pretty? Compare it to Torenia, with its rich array of colors (see above link for more examples), its attractive and abundant foliage, and its ability to thrive in part to full shade, even during intense heat and humidity, as long as it is kept in moist soil and not allowed to dry out (wilting wreaks havoc with them) . And the range of colors you can find in Torenia have something for just about everyone: from deep blues and purples, to rich bicolor reds and yellows, and yes, pink. What's not to love? They also can do quite well in pots (sometimes spilling over the edges if they're happy) as long as they're not in full sun and are watered very frequently (probably every day), so depending on your sun conditions, you could tuck these away for little splashes of color on the steps or patio, you name it. The ones pictured here are tucked amongst the ferns and Hellebores in the Woodland Garden, just behind the Dragon Arum and before the Trilliums and Toad Lilies.

Photos by Fernymoss, taken June 24, 2008

Oh, and I also maligned Dusty Miller and Hostas elsewhere too. But we did have a great petunia conversion this year, so I hope that balances things out. Otherwise, let the flogging begin ....

UPDATE: 1 July, 2008 ... We found the stake for this particular variety of Torenia and it's called 'Magenta Moon.' Definitely one to look for next year!


Family Man said...

Hiya IVG.

Great pictures. For some reason the top one reminds me of a gigantic mouth that's wide open laughing very hard. Sort of like a disembodied mouth from a cartoon. Go figure.

Tell Fernymoss he did an excellent job again on the pictures.

Take care and have a good w/e.

boran2 said...

Well, these are really nice. They seem like a perfect replacement for impatiens. And blue is available?!! I'll have to look around for some of them. But that brings up part the impatiens allure: availability. I'll just have to get off my ass and go look for torenia.

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

Hi there FM,
They are rather evocative of a gaping mouth, now that you mention it. It's also called "Wishbone Flower" because many have a white marking on the interior that looks like a wishbone ... I've passed on the compliments to Fernymoss. :-)

I'll be working again most of tomorrow, but that should ease up the latter part of next week. I was slackerly and just rested and did a little laundry today because I was so exhausted. (Yesterday was another 12 hr day, yuck.)

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

Hey B2, glad you liked these! These are pretty popular these days so you shouldn't have much trouble finding some ... we got ours at that grocery store garden center we like, but they are very widely available. Check out that link to I posted and take a look at the pics ... there's a gorgeous deep blue one pictured that I'd like to find. The ones we got this year we chose because the only other ones they still had were pink. :-)

Shady Gardener said...

Hi IVG, Did you say there are seeds for these plants? I guess I missed seeing Torenia (even though you really did tell me about them, earlier). Their foliage is very bright, too. :-)

Impatiens reseed themselves here(a great bonus). I always purchase a flat of them from the high school students (who grow them to sell). But, I have a lot of space to fill, so I could do both!

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

Hey Shady,
I've seen Torenia seeds for sale, but we direct sowed once with no luck. Better to get plants if you can (we bought ours last weekend at Hy-Vee where stuff was going half off, thus the 4 new peonies, lol). I bet you can still find some at a nursery or garden place that sells annuals.

Speaking of buying things in flats, the one thing we buy a whole flat of every year is moss rose, and we stick it in everywhere out front in the boulder bed and rocks. It's great at self-seeding. I know, that would be a washout for you ... but a flat of Torenia would be really cool to have!

Shady Gardener said...

Oh, no! I purchased a few moss rose plants for an area in front of the house that also gets enough sun to appease sun-lovers! They also self-seed and are running rampant! :-)

We used to have two additional large trees in the front yard... which meant almost NO sun anywhere. They had to be taken out about 3 years ago. (I did not cry. While they were lovely trees, I like a little sun, too!) At any rate, the garden beds in front of the house range from pretty shady (3/4 of the beds)to some sun (about 1/4)! Yea!

Shady Gardener said...

And I'll look for torenia tomorrow at HyVee. :-)

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

Hi Shady,
When I made that comment I hadn't yet read that you do have some sunny portions out front, so YAY you can do moss rose! I've loved that stuff since I was little, and our garden is not complete unless we have some of every color planted en masse in front. Great stuff, even if it is a close relative of that über invasive and unattractive weed everyone has in their gardens! I'm sure you know which one I'm talking about, :-)

Hope you find some at a good price at Hy-Vee!!!