Tuesday, July 12, 2011

What's a Swainsona?

Yeah, I'd never heard of it either when I saw it. This is another plant I bought at The Huntington Library & Garden's nursery.  It's Swainsona galegifolia 'albiflora'.  For my non die hard gardener friends, you know that botanical latin is easy to decipher.  "Albiflora" means white flowers.   Must have leaves like a "Galeg" whatever that is.   The foliage is ferny like a Jacaranda.  It's in the legume family as it has pea flowers.  But it makes not pod.  Curious.    I just read that the Leguminosae family is now the Fabaceae family.   Great!  I hate it when the botanical world changes names of things that you've known forever!   This wonderful plant flowers for months and is from Australia.  I always love Australian plants!  I hope to visit there someday. I'll go crazy with all the Eucalyptus, Grevilleas, Melaleucas and koala bears.    I had a hard time keeping this plant from wilting when I first got it. So, I kept potting it up and it's now in a 7 gallon can.  Hopefully before the end of the year it will get planted in our new garden IN THE GROUND!  Whoo-hoo!  It blooms for so long.  Research says it blooms in Spring and Summer.  I've seen it bloom from Fall into Winter too.  Must be our mild climate. Or the plant is just homesick for it's southern hemisphere :-)  I've had my Swainsona for about 3 years. It takes sun or part shade and grows to about 3 feet.  I never saw it in any other nursery until recently at La Crescenta Nursery.  Go check them out if you are in SoCal.  La Crescenta Nursery   I only cut it back when it gets long and stupid or has some dead branches.  Then is comes back into flowering. It must like being trimmed :-)