Anyway, I have tried to replicate the beauty of lupines in my garden for years now, with no success. They just don't take in my garden. Other gardeners in my neighborhood have said the same--"I just can't get lupines to grow here!" I remember when I moved to Rochester my stepfather's parents, who were both Master Gardeners, were super excited because that zone was great for lupines. They couldn't grow them in New Jersey, and so Mum Wheelhouse (they were from Yorkshire) gave me a seed packet and said with glee and a very thick accent, "You'll be able to grow loooopines!" Well, my first house in Rochester was with He Who Must Not Be Named, and I did not yet have a fully developed green thumb. (Coincidence? I think not. I couldn't grow things like the dickens until I was in a healthy, happy household with a good man and a good relationship.) The seeds languished on the kitchen counter and died a horrible death. But I never forgot that I should totally grow looopines, even though the only ones I had ever seen were the clownish hybrid variety and I didn't get the appeal.
Fastforward to going to Maine for the summer with Bryce for the first time, and witnessing the glory that is a swath of pink and purple lupines in the wild. Now I got it. They were gorgeous. I had to grow them. Bonus that they attract butterflies. I planted some established lupine pots three years ago. They died. Not just an average death, but a HORRIBLE wasting and stunting that I just didn't understand. Never fear, I don't give up easily. (This should be obvious by now in my journey.) Last year, year two, I planted lupine plants that Bryce gave me as part of my butterfly garden. They were to be deep pink and they looked pretty healthy. I planted them, and they...died. A horrible death. One actually dried up and withered away to dust, much like the Nazi guy in Raiders of the Lost Ark but in slow motion. I began to think that my yard had been cursed by an evil fairytale witch, "And as long as this house shall stand, absolutely no lupines will ever grow in its soil! Nor will babies be born to the inhabitants of this dwelling! Mwah-ah-ah!" This may seem paranoid and nutty, but then again, given our track record on both fronts, not so much. So I bought ANOTHER set of lupine plants, these large established pots again, from a local nursery, different from the first. I planted them in my side garden, in a different place than I'd tried before. They did ok. They stayed small, they didn't bloom, but they didn't wither and waste and die, either. The end of the season came and they were pretty much the same size as when I planted them and not a single bud had appeared. I chalked it up to the fact that lupines just don't want to grow here and maybe I should just give it up.
But now, in Year Three, my lupines came back. With a vengeance. They are robust and bushy and sending up new leaves all the time. And one of them sent up a bud! And that bud is just now starting to flower. These lupine plants were mysteries, as I bought them towards the end of the season and they didn't have a label. I had no idea what color they would be. This one is pink, and it is beautiful:
|Pink lupine among the Korean lilacs, which smell incredible.|
This lupine finally made it. After three years of trying and four attempts with different plants, it is finally fertile and flowering. I don't know if I finally have the lupine magic touch or if the conditions were just right for this miracle to occur, for the lupine to become fruitful. What I do know is that I tried and tried for years to get lupines to be successful in my garden and had failed attempt after failed attempt. Finally, this year, it happened. I am really hoping that this is not a coincidence, and that this is a trend of things to come. I am hoping that the Little Lupine That Could will be followed by the Little Babyling That Could, because they have similar stories. It sure seems like a fine allegory to me. Please, please, let this flower miracle be a good omen for this summer's efforts in our neverending saga of trying to get something special that we've planted with care to grow and flower inside my body.