Pinks are unrivaled in beauty at the woodland's
edge. They will do the same for your garden too.
wonít be long until one of the most beautiful
wildflowers fires up the moist woodland borders like few
other plants. I am talking about Indian Pink, known
botanically as Spigelia marilandica. It is so showy it
caused my son to get off his bike and take notice when
he was around 11.
Indian Pink is native to 17 states from Texas to Florida
and north to Illinois and is cold hardy from zones 5-9.
It is different than many other wildflowers in that it
is easy to grow and makes an incredible plant for the
shade or woodland garden. Your clump or stand will
expand over the years becoming the real showstopper in
have never met a single gardener that doesnít treasure
this plant. Itís not just the gardeners either, as
this is one of the favorite natives for the
ruby-throated hummingbird. In fact Operation RubyThroat
lists it as No. 8 on its list of native plants. In the
South, the flowers start showing out in March and last
through May, and even later in the northern regions. One
of the things I treasure most about digital photography
is that the camera records when the images were taken,
helping keep track of when things bloom.
Pink blooms are incredibly beautiful with their blazing
tubular red flowers that open to expose bright yellow
star-shaped tips. As striking as they are they are, they
have been dealt a severe blow with some common names
such as wormgrass, and woodland pinkroot. Madison Avenue
would have difficulty overcoming those names. Even the
name Indian Pink doesnít do it justice.
am always getting questions about what to grow in moist,
partially shady areas. The Indian Pink would certainly
be a great one to consider. This is a good clump-forming
perennial that usually reaches about 2 feet in height.
It is getting somewhat easier to find at garden centers
and a whole lot easier to find via mail order.
get Indian Pinks more readily for sale at the garden
center will take a cooperative effort: by the garden
center to get them and then the consumers with their
wallets. It can happen -- just look at all of the new
plants we have that appeal to the backyard wildlife
habitat. It was just a short time ago you couldnít
find plants like Joe Pye weed or butterfly weed, but now
most garden centers keep them on hand.
you get yours, choose a site on the woodland edge or
under the high filtered light of overhead trees. The
soil should be moist and organic rich. Plant several of
them, creating an informal drift. They are great with
clumps of Christmas ferns, in front of large oakleaf
hydrangeas and even partnered with hostas. I like them
with blue-leafed hostas, but they can be breath taking
with hostas like Stained Glass or Cathedral Windows that
have chartreuse or lime green.
Allen Armitage at the University of Georgia, a renowned
flower expert, says this: "The upright, tubular
flowers stop people dead in their tracks."
is great when an expert says something like that. The
proof in the pudding, so to speak, is that when flowers
capture an 11-year-old boy's attention, you know they
are something special. I hope you will give them a try
in your garden.