Saturday, October 9, 2010

I've been thinking abouut Oxalis since before the rains came and the little pink flowered one by the front walk started blooming again

We've have only two Oxalis, O. triangularis, from Brazil has lived in the house for as long as I can remember. It's progeny share pots with orchids and live here and there in the garden. It is hardy but never seems to do much in  the open garden here in Adelphi. And of course the small pink-flowered hardy plant in the top picture. As to its identity, I have no idea. There must be over 1,000 taxa; there are supposed to be ~800  species and catalogs list...well, lots of cultivars. The  pink one is a passalong plant; it came, unidentified, from a friend and flowers just like this whenever it's happy. Unfortunately for me, it likes a bit more soil moisture that naturally occurs at its site in summer so I see flowers spring and fall. And winter if it's mild. \

The thing that  got me thinking about Oxalis though, was the incredible success Brad has had sprinkling Rain Lilies about in his containers this year. I've been wondering if there aren't Oxalis that would function the same way. Hey whatever they did, they're almost all very low plants and wouldn't interfere with the design/structure of a mixed container. Darby, at Thanksgiving Farms, has been carrying a few including a golden-leafed selection. I though I bought one but either I didn't or it was eaten up by other plants in a container.  There are varieties that would be great little textural groundcovers with leaves of various colors and shapes and ther are varieties that flower, some almost non-stop, others sporadically.

My problem is my ignorance. A small green plant that flowered once wouldn't be a great addition to a container. Even if the flowers were large and pink or yellow or lavender... Neither would a plant that couldn't adapt from it's southern-hemisphere schedule. I need one of those 180 page Timber Press guides to Oxalis. After some searches, I discovered there are no books devoted to Oxalis. maybe it's too broad a topic, or maybe there's just nobody who knows it all. I was impressed by the selection at Telos Rare Bulb; they list 30 or 40 varieties.Maybe I just need to order a dozen or so an start experimenting.

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