May 21, 2010

She's Back! Rose Campion Returns

Rose campion must have a fan club! Each week, my blog receives multiple searches for this self-sowing garden plant. To please her many admirers, rose campion has returned for an encore performance.

Rose campion, also known as lychnis coronaria in certain garden circles, joined my zone 7 garden in 2007. The original mother plants have returned and are now about one foot in width. The kids are randomly sprinkled along the garden slopes below the mothers.

The slender silver foliage of rose provides a nice contrast with the foliage colors and shapes of neighboring plants. In one location, rose campion has taken up residence beside autumn sage (with a similar bloom color) and lamb's ear (with silver foliage). This accidental trio gives rose campion an interesting camouflage cover—making her look like stalks of blooms on the lamb's ear.

Rose campion is a short-lived perennial for zones 3-9, but with the self-sowing tendencies, she seems to be an easy plant to keep around for years. The seedlings may not bloom the first year. I have moved a few of the young around the garden as they are very shallow rooted and easy to transplant.

These drought-tolerant plants thrive in dry conditions and aren't bothered by any four-legged critters nor pests. Too much water or too much humidity may turn the foliage to a bit of mush, but cutting them back to the basal foliage in midsummer will help. (If you want the plants to self-sow, leave a few of the flowers.)

Rose campion is such an easy, pleasing plant—go ahead and try a few in your garden, too!

Words and photos by Freda Cameron, Defining Your Home, Garden and Travel. .
Freelance travel writer. My current fiction writing projects include a completed manuscript and several works in progress.

By the way, my name is pronounced fred-ah, not freed-ah. Thank you.

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