String of Pearls

“String of Pearls”, a copyrighted post, was written for my WordPress blog called Always Growing by Jan in Covington, Louisiana 

 

I am finally starting to feel better and have started working in the garden again.  I was surprised what has happened in the week I have been out of the garden.  One thing that really floored me was the blooming of the shell ginger.  Last time I looked there was nothing, not even a hint of a flower, and then yesterday, there were whole bloom clusters showing their round, white flowers looking for all the world like a string of pearls.

 

Ginger Fl Cluster (redu)

 

This variegated shell ginger receives morning sun and has bloomed the last three years.  I have some of the plain green ginger which has been in two years, is a good size, but is in shade, and that one has not bloomed.  I don’t think I will be getting any flowers on those plants because of the shade, but that is okay because I planted them for screening not for flowers.  This variegated ginger has done well here, getting only occasionally nipped by the cold weather.  Earlier this spring I did cut it back some since it was starting to come a little too close to the front of the border.

With its varigated foliage, this plant is pretty enough, but the flowers are so unusual that they are an added bonus.  Eventually the little round “pearls” will open showing bright orange-red and yellow.

 

Open Ginger Flower (redu)

 

The flowers only appear on old growth which is why if there is a hard winter freeze, there will be no blooms, but even though we had some pretty cold weather this year, this stand of ginger must have some protection from the surrounding azaleas and overhead trees.

So, after being out of the garden for a week, these flowers were a nice “welcome back” present from old Mother Nature.

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11 Comments

  1. Janet said,

    May 31, 2009 at 2:55 pm

    Love the foliage and now seeing the flower — incredible!

    • Jan said,

      May 31, 2009 at 3:48 pm

      Janet, when my sister gave me this plant, I never had seen the blooms. The first year it bloom, I was so surprised and delighted. They are lovely and so different.

  2. Garden Mary said,

    May 31, 2009 at 3:12 pm

    These flowers are so pretty. I have never seen these bloom like this. I guess it is because we are a lot colder than your area.

    • Jan said,

      May 31, 2009 at 3:55 pm

      Mary, I found out through reading that if the stalks are killed back by a freeze they will not flower since it blooms on last years stalks. I have never had that happen to mine. A few may turn brown from the cold, and I cut them back, but there are always some that survive undamaged and bloom.

  3. Sandy said,

    May 31, 2009 at 3:35 pm

    I have seen this growing around but never knew what is was. I love the tropical feel it brings to a garden area. I know this would be great around my pool with hibiscus.

    • Jan said,

      May 31, 2009 at 3:57 pm

      Sandy, these do look very tropical and would be very pretty around a pool. I have seen these used in landscaping around resort swimming pools very effectively.

  4. Brenda Kula said,

    May 31, 2009 at 4:51 pm

    I have a ginger and the leaves look just like that. But I’ve never seen it produce what yours did. It’s only a year or so old, and hasn’t produced many leaves yet this year. I’m so scared all my plants are going to wilt till I can get out there and water! Darned sprained leg and Robert’s stack of lumber!
    Brenda

    • Jan said,

      May 31, 2009 at 5:19 pm

      Brenda, just give yours time, I am sure it will bloom. The ones I put in last year are still small, too. Everything is wilting here, too, it has been weeks since we had any rain, and the water pressure is too low to put out the sprinklers today. Take care of that sprained leg.

  5. andré said,

    June 1, 2009 at 1:14 am

    Wow, that’s beautiful! I have tried to have ginger here for several years, but I’ve given up now… (One should know one’s climate’s limits.)

    • Jan said,

      June 1, 2009 at 5:40 am

      Andre, I have a long list of plants I would love to grow here, but our climate is too warm – usually not enough chilling hours for blooms. I guess we have to learn to admire photos of these beauties. At least you could grow some of your wants as house plants.

  6. June 1, 2009 at 7:36 pm

    Beautiful and exotic looking! Glad you are feeling better, Jan, and have been out in your garden. I myself have just started venturing out in my garden after a serious burnout! The garden can always make you feel much better :).


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