Wednesday, June 15, 2005

I want a mountain laurel.

As the season for these spectacular beauties has well nigh arrived, I find myself coveting a bush for my landlord's garden plot more and more.



When I used to work in an office park in Waltham, I'd watch them reach full bloom, fade out and then be dug up and discarded to make room for other, more seasonal shrubs. Such a waste. Such a gosh-darned waste. If only I could have rescued one or two.

7 comments:

Pablo said...

What's fun about these beauts is the spring-loaded anthers that have their heads tucked into pockets on the inside of the petal. The bee (or your finger) disturbs them, and BOING! Slap! Tag, you're pollinated!

Be said...

I know! I really get off on setting of their hair-trigger pollinating mechanisms (almost as much as I love touching touch-me-nots).

There's a gorgeous laurel over on Highland (between Central and School - in front of a big, dark gray victorian) that, come late June/early July, looks more spectacular than any man-made fireworks I've seen.

Be said...

Hey Pavel - when are you going to start writing? Last post was the first post (mine) back in Oct 04.

Hmm?

Dymphna said...

When I lived in Wellesley I don't ever remember seeing a mountain laurel. Lots of lilacs and roses, though...and *huge* rhododendrons the size of the azaleas in Florida.

Here, in the foothills of the Blue Ridge, mountain laurel grows wild. They are at the edge of my yard and back into the woods. The edge ones are quite tall and old. Last year some fungus got them and I thought they were dead. They've come back a bit, but not to their former glory...

I notice the wild ones vary from deep pink through white. And the bush is nice even when not in bloom. More interesting that lilacs in that respect, with gnarly branches and shiny leaves that remind me of bay -- I think they're related.

nappy40 said...

Beautiful photo. I wonder if this grows in my zone?

Be said...

Dympha - maybe it's not the case by you, as you're in a different growing zone from me - but it's amazing to see the difference between the cultivated varieties and the wild ones. In the White Mountains of NH, you see mountain laurel with these tiny (maybe 1/4" in diameter) flowers, most often in white. In the garden stores, they seem to be much larger (maybe 1/2"-3/4" in diameter) and pink, white, red, variegated. Amazing.

Be said...

Nappy: from what I can see, it should be fine in all zones.

In my little mountain laurel websearch, I was kind of surprised to see that there is a Texas version, too, which looks a fair bit different.