Wednesday, May 28, 2008
Feeling the love for fusion
The May/June American Gardener tells me that the Fusion series of impatiens resulted from crosses between walleriana (from Zanzibar) with auricoma (from Madagascar). It seems kind of a paradox that a plant that so many gardeners think of with either indifference or contempt has such exotic origins. I don’t expect to ever see either Zanzibar or Madagascar; they may as well be Antarctica for the chance that I may ever visit. I think of them as places where spices and rare woods may be found, or as places where Captain Aubrey and the HMS Surprise may have stopped during their many far-flung voyages.
I do wonder what impatiens growing in the wild might look like; probably much better than the stiff clumps surrounded by obligatory red mulch that we see in front of corporate headquarters or medical offices. The fact is that impatiens is a useful plant. And that’s exactly the word—I use them for shady spots where I really must have some kind of floral display. But recently, there has been some exciting breeding programs for impatiens, and the Fusions certainly are one of the best results of those programs. I happened upon these—the yellow type—last year at my favorite local garden center, and this year I bought both the yellow and a deep salmon shade. In spite of my griping about patented plants on Garden Rant, I was glad to be able to buy these. (They were developed by Ball.)
Last year, this plant attained bush-like proportions, with delicate, orchid-like flowers and generous, multi-branched stems. Many people asked me what they were. I look forward to seeing what they’ll do this year, a year when I’ll be treating them with a bit more respect.
I had to use a flash for these images, so the yellow does not quite come out as it should.