Romeya coulterii, my fave this week

Romeya coulterii close-up

My first encounter with this beauty was the very first HPSO open garden I visited, that of Jeanne Graham. What a great ambassador she was (and is). We sat and chatted in the shade for a while, and then she took me down the street to see her daughter’s Matilija Poppy. It was huge, tree-like and spectacular.

Roneya coulteri shrub

After several failed attempts to get seeds and transplants to take, I came across a nice little plant at a HPSO plant sale. The vendor assured me that it was a garden-worthy plant, not that much of a sales pitch was needed. Here it is after three years in the ground.

Romneya coulteri

Quoting from the Sunset Western Garden Book “White flowers up to 9″ wide; five or six petals with texture of crepe paper surround a round mass of golden stamens. Fragrant. Blooms May-July, on into fall if watered. Flowers handsome in arrangements.”

Romneya coulteri buds

I do water, but sparingly, and all of those fuzzy buds will open over time.

more Romneya coulteri

Again from Sunset: “Use on hillsides as soil binder, along roadsides and in marginal areas, in wide borders. Invasive, spreading by underground rhizomes; don’t plant near less vigorous plants. Tolerates varying soils (including loose, gravelly soil). Withhold summer irrigation to keep growth in check. Cut nearly to ground in late fall. New shoots emerge after first rains in winter. Although easy to grow once established, the plant is very difficult to propagate. Easiest way to grow more plants is to dig up rooted suckers from spreading roots, but you can try taking cuttings from thickest roots. To make seeds germinate, mix them with potting soil in a foil-lined flat, burn pine needles on top of flat for 30 minutes, water, and hope for sprouting.” In other words, no wonder I had no luck until I found a good healthy plant, well on its way. It’s native to California, and I have found none of the invasive tendencies described here, but consider yourself forewarned. Other stats: full sun, responds to water, tolerates aridity.

We have Loree to thank for getting us talking about favorite plants in our gardens. It’s not unusual to find a new favorite of your own after hearing someone else rave about a plant you have never noticed, or maybe even heard of. Do drop on over to Danger Garden to see what Loree is favoring right now, and why not join in the fun?

17 thoughts on “Romeya coulterii, my fave this week

  1. One of my favorites! Yours looks great. Mine is definitely demonstrating aggressive habits. I’m pulling up suckers left and right, especially in the gravel paths. But they’re so flouncy and dramatic!

  2. Lelo~Guess you have the conditions it prefers. I don’t think I could ever get mad at this one, however ill-behaved.

    Sarah~Isn’t it fun to find something new?

  3. Ooh, I’m with you on this plant as I love it to bits. I got mine several years ago and planted it in my hell strip. It gets a little water in the summer but not much and has sent runners under the sidewalk which have come out on the other side in the lawn and kitty corner under two sidewalks (we’re on a corner lot and came up in the hell strip on the other street side. They’re very easy to pull or dig and give away and the fragrance is very nice!

  4. Alison~I guess that’s a good idea, but mine is right up against Rosa rugosa ‘Buffalo Gals’ and they seem to be cohabiting nicely.

    Peter~I haven’t given it the sniff test. I’ll go out and do that right now. Thanks for pointing it out.

  5. Nice one! Of course the flowers are fabulous but I like the foliage on this plant too. It’s a lovely color and shape. I’ve been very tempted a few times but have managed to abstain as every successful garden plant I’ve seen has been huge! Yours certainly looks very happy!

  6. Loree~It might be a little unkempt for your garden, but if it behaved as well as mine I can see it there. The fact that our neighbor poisons his side of the fence line may keep it in check (see above comments).

    Mark and Gaz~I hope you will show us yours in a future post.

  7. Grace~There are lots of things that I just have to enjoy through others’ blogs. Not for lack of space, but plants can be picky about so many things.

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