Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Sisyrinchium striatum

The plant pictured here is a border staple in and around London in mid-May (which translates to about early June here, maybe later...maybe more like now). When I say a staple, I mean it's everywhere, every garden. I even found some out in back of the pub we stopped at for lunch between Sissinghurst & Great Dixter. I think it's Sisyrinchium striatum, a blue-eyed grass, closely related to the iris. We grow the garden version here that is actually blue, and I have seen wild ones in the fields in Henrietta, but they're so small they're very hard to find. I looked this one up in Armitage, and he says it's hardy to zone 4, so why have I never noticed it in an upstate New York garden or garden center? Anyone have any experience with this plant? I miss Anne Stonehocker. She would know.

It's very beautiful and stately, with cream-colored flowers on spires and spiky leaves. Here is it pictured in the Monocot Border at Wisley. (I know what you're asking yourself. "Jane, why don't YOU have a Monocot Border?" Well. Just how do you know I don't?) Look how great it is with the dark irises.



17 comments:

ladyjicky said...

I had this in my garden in australia and it grew so big . Too big for my garden spots but seeing it again in your blog - I think I just might buy it again and make sure I have the space for it to spread. Very nice and gives a verticle accent in the garden.

Jane M. said...

Yes, I love the vertical aspect. If you stop back, tell me: Are you still in Australia?

ladyjicky said...

I live and was born here in Australia. I guess I gave the impression I was a visitor! LOL
No, I am in Melbourne.

Jane M. said...

I figured as much, but I was hoping...I think the plant is native to Australia.

Thanks so much for stopping by the blog!

ladyjicky said...

Jane, its not a Aust native. Some things grow REALLY well here. Example, David Austin roses. Some grow so big and are like climbers. David Austin himself was shocked when he came here. On the other hand - some of his roses do not do well at all and are not sold here. I adore peony roses but you have to live up in the hills where they get snow to get them to flower.
Hey, we always want what we cannot have! LOL ie - ones hair! I want straight and blonde. LOL

Yolanda Elizabet said...

I agree, I have been to Britain on a garden tour in early June and it was in every garden I saw. Lovely plant though, it's going to live in my garden too soon. ;-)

Jane M. said...

In your Monocot Border, of course.

Blackswamp_Girl said...

I wasn't wondering why you didn't have a monocot border... but after seeing those pictures I wondered why I didn't have one! I love that yellow blue-eyed grass much better than I love the blue-flowering one. You're right, it is very stately.

lisa stonehocker said...

You are right my mother would know:) I enjoyed the website- good work.

Jane M. said...

Thanks Lisa. I miss your mom a lot!

gayl westerman said...

Where can I buy this particular Sisyrinchium in the Northeast, i.e., New York, Connecticut, New Englang? Other sites say that this plant is only hardy to zone 7, but your site says to zone 4. I'm in zone 4/5.

Jane M. said...

Gayl, it's only 2 months later, but...here's a link to a New York Times article about the plant with a few sources. You might have to mail order.

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/08/18/garden/18qna_.html?_r=1&oref=slogin

jf said...

Hi there. Nice blog.
I recently moved to Ellis Hollow, NY. I have seed for Sisyringium striatum. I sowed in early March this year and now have nice 6" tall seedlings. In the past, I've found perennials that are not reliably hardy here when purchased as plants in the trade can be quite successful if grown from seed (biodiversity, I guess). Even if all but one plant perish in the winter, that survivor will often prosper and can then be propagated vegetatively. I'll let you know how it works out for these. Drop me a line if you're interested in seed---I do have some left. I know it's 2 years on now, but maybe you're still interested?

Jane M. said...

Thank you, and I'd love to try some seed. If you would be so kind as to email me at jane at janemilliman dot com, we could make arrangements. How do you like Ellis Hollow?

DianaD. said...

Diana D says:
My sister who lives in Maidstone, Kent, England, has this plant in her garden. I had never seen it before, so last year I dug up one of her plants and brought it to Frankfurt, Germany. As I have no garden, but only a balcony, I planted it in a large pot, where it flowered well, and produced a second plant after flowering, which is now doing well. I'm waiting for it to produce a flower spike, as it did last year. My sister didn't know the name of the plant, but now I've done some research, I'll be able to tell her.

Jane M. said...

Great! Thank you for the comment. I have some seed and am going to give it a go this year.

Wendy Ogden said...

Hello, I live on the south coast in England.

My mother and myself have had this plant for years and never knew the name until I looked it up today. I've moved house a few times in recent years and she always gives me a new clump for wherever I am.

It grows readily here but I'm also testing it as a cut flower. The buds close at night but then explode in the morning. Amazing how many open in water.

I enjoyed the discussion about the flower,thanks.