May 17, 2006

Ever heard of Greater celandine?

Chelidoneum majus blossomsA few years ago, I spotted these in a wooded area beside one of Ottawa's famous bike paths and was intrigued. So I scooped up a few seed pods and threw the seeds carelessly into a pot on my back porch with a Thai hot pepper plant. And ignored them. Much too late in the fall, I transplanted the resulting young plant into a corner of the yard and the rest, as they say, is history. Or it will be, once I finish telling you about it.

Young greater celandine plantLike any typical perennial, it entered its full glory in its third year. And then I moved (story of my life). I transfered a young volunteer to my new digs - literally ;o) - and this is what it looked like in its second year, right about this time of year.

Chelidonium majus is a vigorous plant that grows wild in this part of the world. It grows with a vengeance when given a semi-shady garden environment, having less competition from surrounding plants and more reliable moisture levels than it would in the wild.

Chelidonium majasFast forward one year. This thing is rivalling my bleeding heart, it's got so big! I'm almost afraid to see what it will look like next year!

Greater celandine is not a prima donna; it isn't appropriate for centre stage but it's a great back-up to splashy Oriental lilies. And it doesn't make prima donna demands. It has always been pest-free, disease-free and trouble-free in my gardens. It does reseed, but it's controllable. And it flowers generously non-stop from May till frost. But with the small amount of space I have at my disposal, I'm keeping my eye on it. If it grows out of bounds, it may have to go anyway.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I love this! Thank you for posting it --Monarda