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Allan designs and plants flowering gardens in Montreal, Zone 5 [USDA Zone 4] .

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Entries in sisychrinum (1)


Sisychrinum; a Subtle Beauty Perennial

The best way to tempt a gardener into buying a perennial, that he or she certainly does not need, is to display it in bloom during the spring buying season. That’s how this plant made its way into my garden, into the flower beds of my clients, and into my heart.

Have you heard about this plant? I didn’t think so! Miniature perennials with tiny flowers receive little publicity. One has to look hard to see them in the garden and even harder to find them at the nursery. So discreet are they that growers bulk them up with extra fertilizer in the hope that they will bloom impressively at retail so that shoppers will take notice.

Sisychrinum is a neat, tiny plant that grows in a spray-like bouquet. Its leaves and stems radiate from a center clump that doesn’t appear to grow very wide. Its miniature sword-like foliage resembles tiny fountains. When it blooms in early summer, the sun is not yet strong enough to fade the delicate-but-rich shade of violet-blue of its petals. This unusual color tone is accentuated by a sparkle of yellow in its center to enhance an already attractive flower.

I plant this beauty at the front of the border where it can be seen when strolling past the flower beds. Sadly, this is not a perennial that projects but I am certain that if I had the room to grow it in groves, then surely it would be noticed from far.

Unlike most perennials that are enhanced when grouped with others, I do not use this one in compositions. Its striking visual appearance allows it to take ownership of its spot in the garden so that it requires no other flowers around it. In spite of its diminutive dimensions, this perennial is a veritable specimen plant. It makes such a beautiful statement by itself that I am considering sprinkling several through out the garden beds, just as I did with Dicentra spectabilis.

This will be the third season that Sisychrinum will be growing in my garden. I cannot yet report if it is a perpetual perennial or if it will be short lived. No matter. If it dies after a few years, I will replace it with great pleasure because pleasure is what it has given me.