Most gardeners think vegetables when crucifers (brocolli, kale, cabbage, etc.) come to mind, while lawn afficinados, think weedy bittercress, and lab researchers think arabadopsis (the horticultural guinea pig).
It’s hard to imagine, but these are all members of the giant crucifer family, Brassicaceae. The family also includes many ornamental garden plants, of which we are particularly enamoured with our native cardamines. Before the DNA crowd got hold of these, there were actually two distinct genera, which we still acknowledge, cardamine and dentaria (toothworts). All are spring woodland ephemerals, meaning they flower in winter, and are dormant by May. We’ve made a number of special selections from travels in the Eastern half of the country, some of which we’ve introduced, and several still in trials. Below are a few that we think are exceptional including some of our garden seedlings.
Cardamine bulbosa ‘Show Showers’ is the most amazing selection of our native Cardamine bulbosa that we’ve ever found. These image are all taken this week.
Dentaria ‘Pristine Lace’ – a hybrid of Dentaria heterophylla x multifida that popped up in our garden, similar to our earlier introduction Dentaria ‘Green Snowflake’, but with finer cut foliage and pure white flowers.
Dentaria ‘Come Pewter’ is a cross of two native species, Dentaria heterophylla x diphylla. The leaves are amazingly pewter in color…much more so than our photograph shows. All of these are in full flower now. So, what do you think? Would you purchase these if we made them available?