• The Plantsman’s Advent Calendar Day 17: Lathyrus vernus ‘Flaccidus Roseus’

    Well I did it again–I goofed up the interwebs.  To my subscribers, apologies if you received an email link to this post this morning and then found it defunct.

    Today, let’s talk about one of the most divine spring ephemerals in my garden–Lathyrus vernus ‘Flaccidus Roseus’.  This gorgeous vetchling came to my garden via Seneca Hill Perennials, the now former nursery of plantswoman extraordinaire Ellen Hornig.  Ellen’s taste for plants is exceptional, and better yer, her taste for selecting fine seedlings resulted in this Latin-esque cultivar from a seed strain she developed.  The word flaccidus in Latin literally means limp, but in this instance refers to the fine, narrower, and linear texture of the foliage in comparison to other strains of the species.  It’s an almost feather-like and hovering aesthetic.  At various times, it’s earned recognition as a subspecies, variety, and cultivar, all the result of horticultural/botanical arguments which are never won and too easily fought.  Ellen’s decision to name a strain of pink-flowered seedlings as ‘Flaccidus Roseus’ is probably the safest way of circumscribing these lovely, early spring peas.

    As you may know, the genus Lathyrus is quite diverse and is best known for its vines–the sweet peas of our grandmother’s back fences.  But this lassy clumps and mounds, handsomely growing into a robust clump over several years that shimmers ever so slightly with the rustling of the breeze.  It’s also a perennial that enjoys a little shade.  I grow mine at the edge of my wooded backyard in the company of a merry troupe of daffodils, Carex, and a selection of unusual ferns–a handsome vignette in the waking days of spring.

    While this cultivar isn’t in wide distribution, do snatch it up when you can.  These vernal peas are all too rare in the garden and for no good reason.  Early spring flowering, delicate, and tough as nails–what more could you want?

    Sources:

    Lazy S’S Farm Nursery

    Lathyrus vernus 'Flaccidus Roseus'  ©2011, Kelly D. Norris

    Lathyrus vernus 'Flaccidus Roseus' ©2011, Kelly D. Norris

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