May 20, 2012

Black Barlow and Blaze

It sounds like a bad western movie about an outlaw and his horse, but that is what is blooming together in my garden now --- 'Blaze' peony and a columbine called 'Black Barlow' that showed up unexpectedly this spring. 


I planted several columbines four years ago, in yellows and purples and multi colors, but the yellows and cream colors never came back.  Some light purple columbines did survive and reseed, but none of the multi colors.  I also planted one 'Black Barlow' columbine that left town and disappeared after the first year.  I never saw that one again.

Until this year.  I have not one lone columbine, but five huge clumps of dark maroon columbines with yellow centers, and those are 'Black Barlow', returned after four years.

Who knows what crimes and misdemeanors were committed in parts unknown during the years he was gone.  But here he is all over my garden, and not a single other columbine has remained.  I guess they all got out of town when they heard Black Barlow was back.


Columbines do not usually come true from seed, so you get color surprises each year.  But 'Black Barlow' is an exception.  It does reseed itself looking exactly like the parent columbine.  I just can't figure out where it was for the last four years and why so many huge clumps showed up all at once this season.

My 'Blaze' peony is reliable, though.  It always appears just as advertised, richly scarlet, iridescent and impossible to capture on camera.

Two 'May Night' salvias seeded themselves right in front of this peony.  I didn't plant them there, but the salvias thought the shiny red of the peonies needed to be tempered with something darker, so they planted their purple selves in a pair, side by side, guarding the peony.  It works.


'Blaze' blooms only a short time, maybe a week at most, before the flowers shatter and make a violently red pool on the ground.  Because I only get to see them bloom for such a brief time, I try to get good photos to extend the memory of them, but the bright color is so hard to capture.

I sent Jim out with his Nikon, and he got an early evening shot.

'Blaze' is a fast one, come and gone in too short a time.  And 'Black Barlow' is a mysterious one, gone for years, and back again now.  What a wild pair they are.

24 comments:

  1. Big bad 'Black Barlow' is sensational. How wonderful he's returned after all this time. 'Blaze' is an eye-catcher too, and looks fabulous next to the purple.

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    1. Bernie, I was amazed at how all the self seeded plants go together so well. Nature is always a better designer than I am.

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  2. 'May Night' sounds like the saloon girl 'Black Barlow' visits when he's in town. Ha!

    All the characters, I mean flowers look good in your garden!

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    1. Gardener on Sherlock, you cracked me up --- I didn't even think about May Night sounding like a dance hall floozie!

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  3. Who knew the Wild East could be so much fun and so beautifully decadent.

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    1. Lee, I like thinking that I live in the wild wild east!

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  4. How bizarre, but how wonderful that they all showed up together. It looks so nice!

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    1. Heather, thanks. Why plants just show up, without my interventions, is certainly a puzzle.

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  5. I love the blue and red of the salvias and peony together. How nice to get seeding of May Night, don't think I ever have.

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    1. Larkspur, I was surprised at how rambunctious 'May Night' is. I have multiple seedlings all over this garden every year.

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  6. I always am amazed where plants end up, sometimes in the prettiest combinations on their own. Black Barlow is a pretty plant too.

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    1. Donna, I never really saw 'Black Barlow' bloom the first year, and then it was gone for so many years. So it is a revelation to see how pretty its dark blooms are.

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  7. Mother nature outdid herself there. Salvia and columbine showing up unexpectedly! and what a wonderful combination. Is it possible the peony leaves were hiding the columbine the last couple years?

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    1. Marguerite, the columbine has shown up all over the garden, not just near the peony. I really can't explain what happened with it!

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  8. This has happened to me with Columbines too, Laurrie. They like to surprise us. Black Barlowe is a real winner and looks great with the Salvia too. I think I'm going to have to get both of them now.

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    1. Lyn, I guess I did not realize how variable and inconsistent columbines are when I planted them. Not sure what to expect each year, but it's fun to see what comes up!

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  9. What a sly columbine! How odd and intriguing... I wonder if he'll be back next year? Love how cheerful your peony is. :o)

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    1. Tammy, who knows what goes on out there in the garden! I'll be interested to see if Black Barlow comes back next year --- it really is very odd and intriguing.

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  10. weird about the columbine--I have two columbine plants coming up that were planted maybe two years ago and didn't come up last year. I thought they were gone and this year they're back! Not bloomed yet but we'll see! Maybe the soft winter did something to them?

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    1. Lynne, the mild winter is the only thing I can think of too. The Black Barlow seeds must have been in the ground for several years but couldn't germinate until we had the warm winter that happened this year. You think?

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  11. That wily columbine! All the stars are perfectly aligned! I'm still waiting on my May night salvia to bloom...maybe not enough sun? It doesn't even have any buds yet...{tapping my foot}.

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    1. Cat, Hmmm, I would worry about your salvia. You are so far ahead of us in the season, and you don't have buds yet. Can you move it? My May Night salvias are in full sun and bloom intensely (and spread easily).

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  12. Howdy Pardner. The Black Barlow is a striking plant. I always thoroughly enjoy these comings and goings in the garden. It is such a delight when the lost is found.

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    1. Lisa, It really is a delight, but what a mystery to see a missing plant come back after several years --- and in such abundance!

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