Lychnis coronaria’s looks are nothing to write home about. She grows from a basal rosette of fuzzy, gray-green leaves and sends up many branching stems almost three-feet tall, with small, magenta flowers in early summer.
She’s no Homecoming Queen. So where does she get the tremendous self-confidence required to take over one of my perennial beds?
She came to my garden more than 15 years ago, as a gift to the previous owners. They were quite amused when she self-seeded in the shady edges near the back fence. She's a biennial, so one year would pass with few appearances from her, and the following year her flowers would be a happy surprise.
All that changed when she moved up in the world and got a toehold in a perennial bed.
No one invited her, she just showed up. Wanting to be polite to a new girl in the neighborhood, I let her hang out with the much prettier and more popular girls, the Tall Bearded Irises and herbaceous Peonies. Apparently the compost tea went to her head like wine.
Next thing I knew she was being rude to the perfectly nice Shasta Daisies, who never caused anyone any trouble.
Now she’s everywhere, grabbing attention as if she were Paris Hilton. I think she even has a Twitter account.
Only the mule deer seem able to ignore her.
Some of my gardener friends say they’d like her to come visit them, since she doesn’t mind the blistering foothills sun and doesn’t need a lot of water after the first summer.
Just watch out. She seems like a sweet little thing, but she’s a Mean Girl at heart.
© Daffodil Planter 2009. All rights reserved.