Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Ruby Crowned Kinglet

Like a little bird unfurling its wings, this bright yellow and red flower looks poised for flight. Crisp pastel yellow petals converge in a ruby eyezone that lightens to scarlet as it spreads outward. Petals stretch out or fold gently back, sepals strongly recurve. There is often one petal that lifts a bit, like a bird stretching its wing.

Wild's early eyed Wake Island has long been a favorite of mine, but is rather short at 22" and not a great grower for me. Darryl Apps's Bumblebee's Bouquet is an "apps-ly" named bouquet of flowers, but blooms midseason. This cultivar combines early bloom and larger flower from the pod parent with dormancy and vigor from the pollen parent. At 26" it is taller than both parents.

Hadn't planned on introducing this, but kept it for its trouble-free habit and cheerful color. Then one day I found a chunk neatly cut out of the clump, like a wedge from a pie! The light dawned. I realized that some people might value this plant for the very qualities for which I had passed it over. That tallish scape and slightly irregular form might be part of its charm. 

Then the name came to me, and the die was cast. This flower stands for all whose beauty defies convention. Very vigorous, fast increase,  many scapes, and lots of flowers, with four-way branching and a budcount of 12-16. Multiple fans.

Wake Island x Bumblebee's Bouquet
Flower 4 1/2 x 2 1/4 x 1 1/4
Height 26"
Early (starts last week in June)

Introduced at: $45

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