I rarely visit garden centers with a fixed idea. Instead of finding a desired plant, I just let them find me. In my favourite nursery, there’s always a surprise plant lurking for me when I least expect it. Consequently, about two years ago, strikingly huge flowers caught my eye from afar. I was literally flabbergasted, my body paralysed, my heart skipping some beats. Sighs of ecstasy and utter disbelief swarmed the area. A trolley full of weird container plants with hibiscus-like flowers larger than my head. The extraordinary size of these showy flowers was just phenomenal. Stuck inside the container, a big ID card read the name of NEWBISCUS XXL ‘Mauvelous’, stating the size of 20-30 cm in diameter. Having no idea of what type of hibiscus I was dealing with, I had decided to keep it as a container plant. A month or so after flowering, it started to wilt away, just like any other bulbiferous perennial from the garden;and then finally, completely died off. Or so I thought.
I went back to the nursery and inquired about those ill-mannered Newbiscus plants, hoping to buy another one, perhaps a different color this time. But one of their staff just gave me a weird look, shrugging her shoulders and explaining that all of the remaining Newbiscus plants got some kind of disease which they couldn’t stop and eventually died, so they had to dispose of the whole shipment. Bloody hell, I whispered, it must be a joke or this is the crappiest, dullest Hibiscus specimen ever. Anyhow, the whole idea was unacceptable so I decided to keep the container with the Newbiscus leftovers. It had over-wintered outside, under the shed roof. And then, one day late spring, there was life. Small shoots started to emerge, as if trying to yell out at my recklessness. For the love of God! ❁◕‿◕❁
I was still doubtful, but eventually sometime in late July / August the otherwise plain, ordinary shrub started to burst out with flower buds. A week later, I noticed a few passers-by wearing a big ‘what-the-hell’ cloud above their heads and secretly observing the flower heads in disbelief. And awe!!! Therefore, late October last year I decided it was worthy of a special place in my garden so I planted it out, near one of my agey silverpines, which would provide some shade for it’s delicate flowers in the afternoon hours. This year it grew considerably bigger and richer in flower buds and those breathtaking mauve dinner-plates.
For more information, this beauty has a very own official website, providing the present and future carers with plenty of information and photos. I can only add that it is a plant that will lavishly reward even the most negligent gardeners. It has earned the medal of a tough cookie here in continental Croatia, after over-wintering weeks of -20’C temperatures and coming back in late spring. With abundance of water yet no fertilisers, I believe it came out quite mavelous for an untended 2-year old. As with any other hibiscus plants, the flowers are short-lived, especially if battered by savage rain and strong winds during summer storms (which in my case somehow synced with the flowering period continually testing the plant's resilience). But even if each flower only lasts a day, these few weeks of lavish bloom festival are worth the wait. Every bit of it. And you'll be aching to see it again in the spring ...
Friday, 6 August 2010
Scribbled by Viooltje @ 21:17