Welcome to the second installment of my “Thursday’s Feature” meme!  This week I bring you Camassia leichtlinii ‘Caerluea’.  What a mouthful!  DSC_4791

Camassia grows from a bulb and blooms after most of the Narcissi have finished, but before the summer perennials begin.  It’s a nice bridge for what can often be a green period in the garden.  Here in  Zone 5a, the first blossoms opened on May  17.

This is the second year for these bulbs in my garden.  Last year each plant sent up two or three flower stalks. Here is what they looked like on May 26 last year:043

This year, the plants were fuller and sent up several stalks each.  On May 13, it was apparent that they would put on a fine show:DSC_4445

Four days later, several had begun to open:DSC_4657

I planted late-blooming  Narcissus ‘Stratosphere’ in front of the Camassia last fall in hopes that the two would bloom simultaneously, and my plan was somewhat successful.  Stratosphere opened at least a week earlier than the Cammies, but for four or five days, the two bloomed together and complemented each other quite nicely!

Camassia’s foliage is narrow and strappy.  Our oddly warm winter fooled the plant into emerging early, and then a hard freeze cruelly hit the tender sprouts, so there are a lot of brown tips this year!  The flower stalks sport a very interesting spiral pattern:DSC_4665

Camassia ‘Caerulea’ blooms from the bottom up.  Narrow elongated buds burst open into six-petaled stars with green eyes and yellow anthers:DSC_4666

It continues to grow taller throughout the roughly two-week bloom cycle, topping out between 36 and 40 inches.  Mine grow in almost full sun and fairly rich, well-drained soil.  Judging by the increase in plant size and blooms this year, I would say it is a good naturalizer.  DSC_4754

Two weeks after the first flowers appeared, the Camassias are done and it is time to cut off the spent flower stalks.  DSC_4857

Camassia leichtlinii are available in a few shades of blue, and white as well.  Maybe I’ll add some ‘Blue Heaven‘ or the creamy ‘Semiplena‘ next year!

Do you have a plant you would like to highlight on a Thursday?  If so, just write a post, then come here and leave a link to it in the comment section.  I’d be delighted to have you!  (Cathy from Words and Herbs efficiently wrote and posted one before I got mine up, so here’s a link to it:  Anthyllis vulneraria.  Check it out to see an interesting flower!)