Sunday, May 25, 2014

More patience!

Palouse purple geranium (Geranium viscosissimum), blooming at last, today in the prairie!

Another story of native plant patience...There was a single mature Purple geranium in a copse of native rose and snowberry in the Northeast corner of the property when I moved here in 1991, but a neighbor's burning some weeds got out of control and burned the copse in about 1993.  Everything else came back except the geranium. 

It is a tricky plant to get a seed from.  They aren't ready, they aren't ready...and then these little seed catapults on the bloom come out of nowhere and send seeds flying.  I have found that seedlings don't like to be transplanted.  One year I had five plants sprout from seed I'd collected, I transplanted them out to the prairie and watched them die a slow death over the next two years.  I've had better luck over the last few years, seeding them directly, and now there are a bunch coming up all over the prairie, but I had never had a bloom until today. 

Around 1990 or so, the young daughter of my farmer neighbor Mark apparently got some seeds for geranium down by the Palouse River, and she planted them by her mom's vegetable garden.  When I was telling them my tales of woe about trying to grow geraniums in 2007, they took me to the side of their house, where they had several large bushes of geranium, and I came back when they went to seed, and planted maybe fifteen little spots of them in the prairie.  Three lived!  The other two look like they'll bloom next year, but this one clump has finally bloomed, just today. 

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