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.

12 comments:

Carol said...

I saw these at my favorite greenhouse this spring and immediately bought three of them.

(I actually thinking I might have squealed a little when I saw them, but don't tell anyone).

It's good to hear they will reach bush like size. I'm excited about them!

Carol, May Dreams Gardens

Lisa at Greenbow said...

I tried some of these in the ground here last year and they didn't do well. Of course we had a drought last summer. They are striking.

I have seen impatients growing wild in Trinidad. They weren't so pretty. They were tall and lanky. Of course no one was pinching them back etc.

Gardens of Solipsism said...

I, too always hated "mall planter" impatiens but I now realize since I moved to Hawaii and see them growing wild and willy nilly in the forest beneath the tree ferns how lovely they can be. They don't seem to get thick and it's true they are leggy but in the forest they seem to be judiciously placed rather than unkempt. I haven't run across your charming Fusion in Hawaii but I will be looking for it as I have an all shade garden I'm just starting up. Thanks for the tip.

Annie in Austin said...

If they're here in Austin, I've missed them - very interesting, EAL and Carol!

Something about the shape and being yellow instead of in pink tones reminds me of Jewel Weed, the native kind of impatiens found in woodlands.

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

Layanee said...

I also tried a few of the fusions last year. I used the 'Jungle Fever' yellow but this year I found the cherry reddish one. It looks smaller but we shall see.

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Alyssa said...

i'm a college student and i am thinking of decorating my apartment with some indoor plants,... what do you recommend???
thank you in advanced...

Raquel said...

What beautiful flowers! Thanks for the info! I wish I knew that about roses a couple years ago...maybe they would have survived!!! I enjoyed your blog!

Maybe you would like mine?
Language-speak.blogspot.com

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