Jul 21, 2010
Summer Flower Superstar
Since there were some comments in my last post about the inevitable summer senescence of the native garden, I wanted to highlight a summer flowerer that I'm newly delighted with. Madia elegans. I'd read that it was a good for summer flowering, so bought three in 4" pots last fall. Then off to Yosemite I went for a little birthday treat, and when I came back I discovered I'd misjudged how much water the little pots would need while I was gone. Two of the three were toast, but I planted the survivor, and though it looked pretty sad, it hung on through the winter. Then I totally forgot about it! Its foliage was pretty inconspicuous as the annuals started growing around it. Then right about when the last of the Clarkias were finishing up and I was feeling a bit sad to see the color go, I spotted a bud on a very tall stalk in among the Clarkias. It actually took me a minute to remember, Oh yeeaaah, that's that Madia that's supposed to bring summer color. Within a few days it was. That was a few weeks ago, and it's still going strong. In the mid-day, the sun hits it full-on, and the flowers completely close up. Then when the evening shade moves over the plant, back out the sunny flowers come. On a sunny but not-too-hot day, the petals sort of semi-curl and look like they're getting ready to keel, but then they freshen right up again in the evening.
The plant is quite delightful, about 4.5 feet tall, narrow and sturdy. It is is common throughout most of the state, and couldn't be easier once you get it in the ground. I hadn't watered at all this year till I just ran the drip for a little while this weekend, and I think this plant would be fine whether I had done that or not. I plan to get several more this fall (and not kill them) and intersperse them here and there.