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It's plant shopping time again. Anybody know of a good Pulmonaria (the more silver, the better) that holds up to summer heat without turning into brown mush? Mine don't rebound until the weather cools off in the fall, getting beautiful new foliage that gets hit with the cold in November.
You should be fine with almost any lungwort in your zone. I'm farther south than you, and have great luck with them. The main thing is that they need some shade in the summer, and the soil needs to have plenty of organic material in it, with consistent moisture (watering in dry spells). If your soil is poor, dig a good hole before planting and use a mix of over half peat moss, compost, etc. to plant your lungworts in. If they turn to mush, they are probably drying out. Even with normal rain, if the soil is poor they will dry out. My best performer is 'Roy Davidson' a great pulmonaria (photo), with lots of silver spots. You might try 'Excalibur' for more silver.
Ahhh - I thought it was the heat turning them to mush since they always seem to start looking awful during the second half of summer. Of course by then the leaves on the trees keep the rain from getting where it needs to go. They get plenty of shade - I don't trust any of them in any amount of direct sun. I have 8 or 9 different ones (started going crazy with them with my first 'British Sterling' in '94). I'll try to remember more water for them.
Thanks for the advice!
One more bit of advice: Mulch with at least 2" of organic material... chopped leaves or finely-shredded bark. Cuts down on the watering and the, drying out. If your soil isn't too bad, you might get by with just mulching well instead of digging in organic matter, although it wouldn't hurt under any circumstances. ('British Sterling' is an excellent one, with much silver, but add 'Roy Davidson' to your collection if you don't already have it. It holds up very nicely in the summer, and looks great with longer than usual leaves after flowering.)
Oh, I need to do the digging in of organic matter. My soil is very fine on top of clay and we're at the top of a little ridge that slopes down into a wetlands. The moisture drains off fast and in the summer, both the fine stuff and the clay can get really hard. I'm on a soil improvement campaign.
Checked my file - I killed 'Roy Davidson' years ago (along with 3 other Pulmonaria varieties). I love all of the silver markings but one of my favorites is P. rubra 'David Ward'. The leaves are beautiful, the flowers have more of a coral color to them and it seems to hold up better to drier conditions. Cold hardiness a bit tricky for me. And it tends to take off a little slower in the spring.
I agree that almost any soil can use some improvement. If you have a large area though, it won't take long for any organic mulch to decompose and enrich the soil through the action of earthworms. There are some areas of my garden that I've never worked the soil up to add organic matter, but after 25 years of mulching, you would think I've double-dug them. Those areas have at least 6" of wonderful fluffy topsoil that the plants thrive in. When I plant something new, I just make sure to incorporate at least half of the back fill with this decomposed mulch. Works great.
I mulch every 2 years with bagged hardwood mulch, digging in the old stuff before putting down the new stuff. Problem is that I'm not putting down a thick enough layer of mulch to begin with. This year I'll have to find a hidden pile of compost somewhere and dig that in as well.
You're on the right path though, mulching. I use the more finely shredded hardwood bark mulch. I've seen it for sale up your way (had a brother-in-law in Hobart until they moved a while back). It's called 'Forest Fines' and bagged by Greendell Mulch and Mix, which happens to be located about 10 miles from me. I use it by the cubic yard on jobs. Great product. Around perennials, you can put it 2" deep and they love it. 'David Ward' is an excellent lungwort. 'Sissinghurst White' is a nice (you guessed it) white flowering pulmonaria.
Here's a shot of the mulch place (Greendell Mulch & Mix) that makes different grades of mulch. It's really great how they take a byproduct of the Southern Indiana lumber industry (shaved bark slabs from the logs) and make a valuable organic product. Just a generation ago, the bark slabs were considered waste, and burned.
Yep, Danville, Indiana is west of Indy about 10 miles on US Highway 36. It's the county seat of Hendricks County which is adjacent to Marion Country (Indy). Greendell is actually south of Danville, just off Interstate 70 at the Monrovia exit. This is about 15 miles west of Indy.
If you do find out who handles their compost up here, let me know. If I'm still not working, I might be able to handle a bulk load myself.
There's so much of Indiana that I haven's seen that it's shameful. Just "discovered" SW IN year before last. Boy oh boy - what a treat compared to the rust belt up here.
I'm from northern Indiana originally (LaPorte), but moved down to the Indy area almost 40 years ago. There sure is a world of difference between north, central, and southern Indiana! It's like three different cultures. If you haven't visited the Corydon area, it's a real gem. Lots of history and scenic areas, but also some great state parks (caves are super), garden centers and wineries. Madison dates from 1803. I hope you can visit and enjoy the area.
Have always wanted to stop down around Jeffersonville and spend a day exploring. Clifty Falls has always intrigued me. Would like to also check out the Evansville area. Maybe a long weekend is more in order - when things turn green again. Something about Madison sounds familiar - maybe in one of those "haunted" IN books.
Evansville is nice, but for a "first time" visit to Southern Indiana, I'd recommend Madison. It's full of B&B places to stay (a few reputed to be haunted), lots of antique shops and a couple of historic places to tour (with gardens). Also, Clifty Falls State Park (with a nice, inexpensive inn) is only a couple of miles outside of town. Great hiking. The whole area in right on the Ohio River. There is at least one good winery in the area too. Definitely a great spring trip when the native dogwoods and redbuds bloom in April. Lots of information on the Internet or course.
If you ever want to visit Jeffersonville, I'd love to be your tour guide. I moved here from Kalamazoo, Michigan 15 years ago and love this area. There's a wonderful nursery to the east of "Jeff" (what the locals call Jeffersonville) called Hidden Hill Nursery. When I go back to Michigan, I take Indiana State Road 3 from Clarksville all the way up to US 20 in way northern Indiana and 20 winds through the Amish country. It's one of my favorite things in the world...I go through all these small, rural towns, it's just gorgeous. REALLY, I would love to take off work and show you around these here parts...kim http://www.hiddenhillnursery.com/
Kimmy - Thanks for the tour offer. Will have to see how next driving trip works out.
Love the Hidden Hills website - very cute graphics.
Do you come up through the Warsaw/Ft. Wayne area? Used to merchandise big box garden centers over that way. Very pretty over there.
I do take I-69 "around" Ft. Wayne. It's the only time I leave Highway 3. I get on I-69 in Markle and then off at the northern most exit (3 again) which then goes into Kendallville. That's one of my favorite parts of my drive because it's four lane but very little traffic and it starts reminding me more of Michigan. kim