About 10 years ago, my husband's sister and her family moved into a house with a huge yard I was envious of. In the spring, I went exploring through a gate to the alley, to see what the neighbors were growing. There, right in the alley, was a splendid 3 to 4 foot tall, and almost as wide, plant covered with small flowers that were star shaped and a beautiful light sky blue! It was love at first sight. I had no idea what it was, but I started my hunt. I don't remember how long it took, but some people who were having a plant sale had one in their yard. They did not have one for sale, but were able to tell me it was an amsonia. They said I could get one from Blue Bird Nursery in Clarkson, NE, which is a couple hours from here. They also bring plants to Lincoln for our "Spring Affair" which is an awesome plant sale at our fairgrounds.
I was pleased to find my first amsonia at a local nursery that sells native plants. We made the drive to Clarkson, when I realized this was a little different from the one I saw in the alley. Since then, I have found other kinds at the Spring Affair and from our Nebraska State Arboretum, where they sell "Great Plants for the Great Plains". This summer, I even found one at a mainstream nursery on the 75% off rack! But, I digress, this one will be featured in a different post, since I seem to like to go into detail and put lots of pics up.
The first amsonia I am featuring is not the first kind I got, which is a bit spready. This one, I'm pretty sure is Amsonia tabernaemontana. Actually the first one I got was called that, too, but as I said, it is not the same thing.
In late April, there were woody stems, but no green yet on this plant. This photo was taken May 6. The amsonia is on the left. In the back, is a false baptisia, and to the right is a day lily. Click on any of the pics if you want to see them larger.
The amsonia grew noticeably, as this pic from May 12 shows.
This is from June 8, showing the plant grows while it's blooming:
There weren't as many blooms by June 18, but the baptisia behind is putting on quite a show. We had looked into replacing the red shed, but, as I've mentioned, the city didn't allow it because it would not be even with the neighbors' house. It is now repaired and green. The dog kennel is no longer in the back yard, either.
On June 22, there were a few blooms and the long slender seed pods were forming.
This photo is from July 6th, and I had just cut the plant back so the baptisia could be seen and the plant wouldn't spread over the other nearby plants as much. I don't think you are supposed to cut it back this far, but there is one at our farmers' market that gets cut to the ground each year, so I decided to experiment.
August 6th, the baptisa was making seed pods, and the amsonia had formed a nice mound.
Here's a wider view, taken August 31, with our amsonia and baptisia on the right of the photo. A relative, one that will be featured later, is the plant turning gold already, in front of the black eyed Susans under the garden window.
September 7, I'm not sure how long the false sunflowers had been blooming. The butterflies sure liked them. The amsonia still grew wider than I wanted it to. I think I may try dividing it in the spring. I did cut it back at the edges.
September 25, you can see the mountain mint on the right. The verbena "on a stick" is providing color.
November 5, after we had had a freeze, amsonia on the left, baptisia on the right:
Today, December 26, I'm still in love:
I hope you are having a great holiday season.