Oops, we totally fell off with the whole used-to-be-monthly budget blooms thing. But lookie what I found growing in the jungle that is our front lawn:
Allow me to put on my best Australian nature-show voice to set the scene for you: The air is still. Not a predator in sight. Something moves in the brush. A buzzard circles overhead. Somewhere in the distance a lion roars. No wait, that’s a baby crying. And just like that I’m out of character.
I don’t know the real name for them (flower whisperer, I’m not), but I like the sound of Purple Ring Pops. So that’s how I’ve been referring to them. At first I just admired them on our way up and down the driveway. Then I thought a little snip snip was in order so I could take some of the stems inside to be ogled more regularly. Here are a few cuttings living it up on the back of the living room console table.
Sidenote: Everything looks better with a white cardboard rhino in the background (from here a while back, bee tee dubs).
I think this vase gets used more often than any other in the house (it’s from Crate & Barrel three years ago or so). Pink and purple sounds like it could sway into the unicorn/fairy princess realm… but somehow it works.
Anyone know the real name of these blooms? Have you found any fun mystery flowers – either in a field, at the farmer’s market, at the grocery store or in your yard? Do you ever have that internal debate about whether you should leave flowers outside to enjoy when you’re out there, or snip ’em and bring them inside, where you spend more time? I usually leave things outside for a few days and then can’t help myself and bring in a few cuttings. Oh and did anyone notice I snapped these pics before our frame switcheroo (mention this morning) but it just took me longer to write this post than it took John to get his done? Maybe we should add Overachiever to his roster of middle names. John Overachiever Danger Soda Petersik. I like it.
Psst- Wanna see our first cheap-o bouquet from January of 2009? And February, March, April, May, June, July, August, and September’s too? How about our 2010 blooms from January, February, March, April, May, June, and July along with one from a few months back? Can you even handle all of that glorious nature in one sitting?
They look like balloon flowers to me. There is a scientific name for them, but I haven’t a clue what it is.
Oooh. That makes a lot more sense than Purple Ring Pop.
Kristen @ Popcorn on the Stove says
I like the name “balloon flower”. Since John changed his name to “John Overachiever Danger Soda Petersik”, I think it’s cool to change the flowers’ name.
Platycodon gradiflorous ‘Sentimental Blue’ – I knew my plant science degree would pay off!! Haahaa… I also sell plants for a living!
Growing up our nextdoor neighbor called them Balloon Flowers.
That is the extent of the help i can provide.
Oh, and they will pop open if you give them a few days!
Whaaaaaat???? They will? What’s inside? I can’t wait.
that’s what she said.
I think it may be a ‘balloon flower’ not sure but it sure looks like it. I don’t know what the ‘real’ name is but that’s how we referred to them, it is a perennial.
These are my favourite super cheapo blooms http://annabelvita.com/hes-a-keeper – “borrowed” from a neighbour’s tree. (To be fair, it’s massive and overhangs the pavement so I consider it fair game). They were mystery for a while but I’ve since discovered it’s a mimosa. I now intend to plant a mimosa in a future garden as it was such a lovely pop of colour way back in grey march!
Seriously gorgeous!!!! Wow.
Say what? That’s definitely a different kind of mimosa than I have! There’s a mimosa tree on a corner of my lot (it’s an old neighborhood and has a lot of the trees/plants that were popular in the 50s in this area), but the blooms are pink and puffy fluffed kinda like a dandelion. I’ve never seen them all yellow and smaller like yours. Intriguing!
Melanie, I thought Mimosas were exactly what you were describing, too. In fact, I saw them again on Desperate Landscapes last night and I am bound and determined to go get one for my yard because they’re just so awesome:
But Annabel.. I do love those flowers and that vase… WOW! Must see if they still have them!
these are the mimosa blooms that grow in the carolinas:
i’ve never seen any blooms like those on a mimosa tree!
Hmm, I might be wrong – I identified it by typing “fluffy yellow balls” into google (ha, that could have gone wrong…).
These were a lot fluffier when freshly cut. As it got bigger it did look more like this type of mimosa :http://www.crocus.co.uk/plants/_/trees/other-trees/bigger-trees/acacia-dealbata-/classid.30/
Also, this was growing in London – maybe the climate is more conducive to massive mimosas in your area?
The ‘little yellow ball’ flowers are wattle. These flowers are our Australian floral emblem. In spring and summer, the hills around my house are covered in huge patches of yellow flowering wattle and look like a giant yellow patchwork blanket. They are members of the acacia family.
I’m fairy certain now that it’s an acacia dealbata, called a mimosa in the link in my post above and a silver wattle on wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acacia_dealbata). It’s now gone to seed and the seed pods look about right. The name difference is probably one of those regional things.
Thanks for all the help guys!
Mimosa trees are amazing! We bought our first house last fall and I was thrilled when I found out we have one. It’s been blooming non-stop since March. The hummingbirds and butterflies love it more than anything else in the garden. BUT it’s considered an invasive species in lots of places so often times you can’t buy them and you’re not supposed to plant them if you’re in one of those areas. Of course… if some of the seeds from your neighbor’s tree happened to germinate and they happened to end up in your garden…what a happy coincidence! ;) Even though I know i’m not supposed to, I will probably bring a mimosa tree with me if we ever move. I love them.
Just wanted to share.
jill c says
the pink fluffy blooms that melanie and wendyMI are describing are actually silk trees, but are also called mimosa in our area. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albizia_julibrissin
so invasive. those and the morning glories are the bane of our yard and garden. :-P
I had some at a last house. I tthink they are called balloon flowers. There blossom opens and looks like a little star. They are very cute.
Ashley @ DesignBuildLove.co says
don’t know the name BUT they sure are really pretty!!! Such a deep, rich purple… one of my fave colors and was even the color of my bridesmaid dresses! :)
They are called PLATYCODON. Google it and you can see pictures of them opened. They look like stars.
That is campula. They will spread nicely and are amazingly long lasting as cut flowers despite their delicate appearance. I never saw them in Virginia (my home state) but they grow in abundance here in the Chicago area. Enjoy them!
I hope candy comes out when they open!
Agreed. Or money.
Our backyard is a space we have not addressed yet and its a jungle out there. Last time I was out there some weeds bloomed and they are very pretty, who knew weeds could have such beautiful flowers
Oh my gosh- they’re so pretty when they open! Thanks for the link!
I wonder if you can buy them to plant… I love those! They may not do well in Florida though…
Make that “campanula” or bell flower.
Hannah P. says
Platycodon grandiflorus :) AKA: balloon flower, chinese bellflower or japanese bellflower.
They’re beautiful when they open too!
Booyah! They’re called Komachi, or Balloon Flowers.
Thanks for all the flower info guys!
You’re right! They totally look like Purple Ring Pops! Good thing Clara doesn’t know about those ring-pops yet, or you may have a flower munching baby on your hands. Heheheh
Totally! Thankfully even though she’s walking around now she can’t quite get on the sofa and reach stuff on the console. But those days are numbered!
Yup – then you’ll have to buy some of those funky ‘hang on the wall’ vases for your flowers!
Oddly enough we have three of those from CB2 a while back. Just haven’t found a spot to hang them yet…
Terri Simmons says
Yep, those are balloon flowers and they do open up beautifully. They will die back completely but suprise you again next summer. You can try saving some dried flowers and spreading the seeds to help them multiply for next year. Southern Living had an article about them sometime in the last year. Try looking on their website.
My mom has had these in her flower beds since I was little. We call them balloon flowers also. When they open up they look like a star shape flower with 5 petals. Not sure if yours will open once they’ve been cut..but good news is that your remaining stems outside should re-bloom if you just dead head the old blossoms.
[email protected] says
We had some of those in my granny’s yard. I never knew what they were called! But they are so pretty! Love the vase they are in as well!
Yes they are awesome flowers!!! And so pretty, I have some myself :) They do well in pots and hanging baskets if you want to spread them around your property. Andddd they reseed themselves, which is awesome! To collect some seed pods, look for some small bloom like head, but they’re not blue/purple, they’re green. Those are the seeds (which are very small like basil seeds). Then you can have lots of free flowers, Mother Nature’s way of decorating. :)
I believe in Prague you’d call those “crisis flowers”. :o)
Those aren’t the same flower. ;(
They’re not the same flower, but the same “budget bloom” idea – cutting whatever’s around that looks pretty. I cut a handful of purple weed flowers on my walk to work a few weeks ago to decorate my desk. Free, and decorative!
Terri Simmons says
Platycodon (Balloon Flower)
The platycodon genus is comprised of one specie of perennial plant. The specie comes from
East Asia, where it is found growing on grassy slopes and mountain meadows. Platycodon
grandiflorous is the only species in this genus, therefore extensive crop selections have brought
the cultivars we now grow today. The characteristics of this great specie starts with deep
green smooth foliage that gives way to balloon shaped flower buds. Once, the buds are mature
they remain in a balloon shape for a few days until bursting into a perfect stars.
Platycodon (Balloon Flower) Growing Tips
Plant in a well-drained soil that has a nice organic medium and is in a pH range of 6.0 –
Plants should receive at least 6 hours of sunlight daily
Incorporate compost or like organic matter into the planting hole for moisture
consistency and to feed a growing plant.
Even moisture is needed for optimum growth and flowering.
If growing in containers use garden soil or compost and avoid peat products.
Tall cultivars may need staking in high wind areas.
(So now you know!)
Thanks for all the info everyone!
Ha – I read it as “Even moisture is needed for OPIUM growth.”
Woah- that’s something else entirely. Haha.
Emily @ Our Waldo Bungie says
I love balloon flowers! We totally had some the first year we lived in our house!
Definitely balloon flowers. My parents planted some four or five years ago (they are perennials), and they were just some nice ground cover back then. I went to visit recently and the balloon flowers were seriously taller than I am (I’m 5’9″). It’s like a friggin jungle you have to plow through to get to the front door. I asked my step-dad why he hadn’t pruned them back, and his response? “They haven’t bloomed yet.” I shudder to think about how tall they may be next year.
These are Campanula (also called Canterbury Bells.) I live in Northern Virginia, and they “naturalize” easily here in VA. (Which means they slowly spread in a healthy, controllable manner.) They also come in white–which is my favorite. They will, indeed open. I actually fell in love with them when I lived in Europe, but they grow equally as well here!
Those are quite pretty! Pics when they open? :)
Will do! If I don’t kill them in the meantime…
I agree… they sure do look like Balloon Flowers to me!
Dana Jones says
definitely balloon flower. http://www.daytonnursery.com/encyclopedia/perennials/Platycodon.htm
erika m says
I live close to that nursery…thats really weird…like I pass it nearly everyday. Small world!
What I thought was a plain old bush along the side of my garage finally bloomed after 2 years living here. It turned out to be some kind of climbing rose that’s really pretty.
Lisa G. says
It reminds me of these guys http://www.perennials.com/seeplant.html?item=1.420.050 that pop up in the fall around here – Atlantic Canada. They don’t open though… they just dry up into this beautiful cage thing to reveal a little ball or something inside.
These are called Physalis or Cape gooseberry…you can totally eat the “little ball”, it’s delicious! (;
Josh K says
If you dead head them after they bloom they’ll bloom even more!
Thanks for the tip!
I love balloon flowers. I love the colors of yours! I was just telling my husband after reading Katie’s blog yesterday that I need to get back on the flower garden train.
I planted three of these around my Maple tree in my front yard about four years ago, and I adore them. Mine bloom for most of the summer. I have always thought they were called Balloon flowers.
I know them as balloon flowers; an old-time perennial. They don’t really open much, if I remember them right, just sort of stay that way until they droop.
Jayna @ Yankee Drawl says
Definitely balloon flowers. They come in that pretty purple-blue color, along with white and pink. The blue seems to do the best here in VA ( Charlottesville). Once they bloom, prune them back just past the spent blooms and they with bush out and bloom again and again.
Love these, so pretty in the pink vase. I like to cut leaves from my ferns and pair them with any kind of bloom (geranium, butterfly bush), then put all in a blue mason jar on the patio table for a simple centerpiece.
HGTV had a bit more info about them: http://www.hgtv.com/landscaping/balloon-flower-chinese-bellflower/index.html
I love to pop those “balloon flowers”!
Looks like you’ve gotten it covered. I love these!
Is it bad that I know you so well that I see a ceramic dog in a picture and think, “oohh wouldn’t Sherry just love this!”.
Enjoy your dog envy!
Oh how I looove him!
I kind of like purple ring pop, because that’s the first thing they reminded me of too! Not that I get my kids a ring pop every.time.we’re.at.the.store because at $.57 a pop it gives me a blissful half hour of shopping without anyone fighting. I’m going to be looking for these blooms next year to add to our perennial garden!
[email protected] says
Isn’t it the luckiest thing when you find a random flower growing with no effort whatsoever?! Hats off to your garden.
Where’d you get that amazing lamp! LOVE it!
That is one of the great things of the first spring/summer in a new house. We had so many cool flowers that made me so happy when they bloomed! I left most outside but the ones behind the house like hot pink peonies and blue iris’ came in the house with me!! Those are some cool flowers!
I love these flowers! My mom had a lot of them in her garden when I was a kid! They actually pop open if you squeeze them and make a really cute “pop!” noise – although I’m sure this is horrible for the flowers as my mom hated it when I popped them. But I couldn’t resist.. It’s like popping bubble wrap!!
It doesn’t really hurt the flower to pop it open by squeezing it gently. It should feel kind of full though like it is about ready to open, otherwise it doesn’t make that cute little popping sound. My mother-in-law is a Master Gardener and she taught me this little trick. Little kids love it.
I used to have those in a planter. Loved those things! Pretty sure the label did call it some kind of balloon flower. Dead heading them really does help.
Definitely Balloon flowers (platycodon) NOT capanula (a perfectly attractive flower, just not these).
Chinese Lanterns – do you know the fruit inside the lantern is edible? I think these are a classic cottage garden plant, like Nigella (love in the mist)
My mother in law planted them in our yard. I thought they were wildflowers but she plucked them out and told me they were edible. We koreans eat the weirdest things.
The roots are actually eaten.
ooh, so pretty!
We had some leafless flowers growing in our backyard, and when I emailed my mother-in-law a photo, she replied “thanks for the photos of your naked ladies!” They were amaryllis, nicknamed “naked lady” because of their lack of leaves.
here are some photos:
Haha- your mother in law sounds hilarious.
Stephanie Handy says
Believe it or not, a friend of mine actually (legally, as in ON THE BIRTH CERTIFICATE) gave her baby the middle name “Danger.”
Now that is. awesome.