Jacob’s Ladder (Polemonium)
In the photo above, the straight species (polemonium reptans, a Wisconsin native, and wonderful in its own right) is blooming to the left, and Heaven Scent is in bud to the right. (A pink tulip is photo-bombing.)
As you can see, Heaven Scent blooms later, but it is also bigger, darker green, and has redder stems. It also blooms longer–a lot longer. In this location (mostly shade, Eastern exposure, dry) it blooms like crazy for 8-10 weeks in the spring, then continues to bloom again periodically all summer.
Did you want to see the flowers close up?
They make terrific cut flowers and smell like grape candy. We’ve even used them in corsages.
There are variegated polemoniums, too. They are stunning even before they flower. This photo is a bit out of focus, but you get the idea. The polemonium is the pinkish thing, in front of the emerging tulips.
In the summer, they look more like this:
I don’t have a suitable picture, but they really light up a shady corner. The variation and contrast changes depending upon how much sun they get and over the season. Talk about dynamic!
All the polemoniums are drought tolerant and thrive in almost full shade to almost full sun. They need more water in full sun.
Until the snow melts, I will be blogging about plants to try in your shade garden this year. Check back!
If you want help with your gardens in Lake Geneva or the surrounding area, give us a call at 262/248-7513.
Follow Obsessed Midwest Gardener on Facebook.
Check out an old post that Google loves: Tulip Sex.