Wednesday Vignette – the smallest flower

This past weekend, gardeners in our area were all a-buzz with one of the biggest hort-events of the year – the Hardy Plant Society of Oregon’s fundraiser ‘Hortlandia’. It is a dangerous place to go for plant addicts, but the allure is irresistible, so with the determination of a fly exploring a corpse flower,  off I went.


Interestingly, the spendiest plant I bought, was also the smallest. A double little green-flowering marvel – Anemonella thalictroides ‘Double Green’. It is destined for yet another fern table. Betty Blake is one of those dainty little things that will enjoy an elevated position in life, as life in the ground, battling it out with regular mortals, would no doubt be too much for her frail constitution. I gingerly propped her up in the box, and lodged between two larger, towering strangers, she made it to her destination, like a rush hour commuter on a sardine-packed train.


Once home, I realized that perhaps Betty wasn’t the smallest flower around, even though she is – by far – the most delicate. One of my favorite foliage plants, Comptonia peregrina, or Sweet Fern, is also blooming, with the most adorable, tiny little red tassels. Before the almost obscene abundance of the height of spring ensues, these diminutive residents of plant Whoville rule the roost.

UPDATE: A preventative apology in case it happens again this week – last Wednesday WordPress and Blogger weren’t talking, so I couldn’t reciprocate comments on anyone using Blogger. Tried again later, but still, it wouldn’t work. So, in case you don’t see a comment from me on your Vignette, please know that it’s not for lack of my trying. Fingers crossed! Or better – if you have any advice on what might fix this, please write it in the comments. Thanks!

About annamadeit

I was born and raised in Sweden, By now, I have lived almost as long in the United States. The path I’ve taken has been long and varied, and has given me a philosophical approach to life. I may joke that I’m a sybarite, but the truth is, I find joy and luxury in life’s simple things as well. My outlook on life has roots in a culture rich in history and tradition, and I care a great deal about environmental stewardship. Aesthetically, while drawn to the visually clean, functional practicality and sustainable solutions that are the hallmarks of modern Scandinavia, I also have a deep appreciation for the raw, the weathered, and the worn - materials that tell a story. To me, contrast, counterpoint, and diversity are what makes life interesting and engaging. Color has always informed everything I do. I’m a functional tetrachromat, and a hopeless plantoholic. I was originally trained as an architect working mostly on interiors, but soon ventured outside - into garden design. It’s that contrast thing again… An interior adrift from its exterior, is like a yin without a yang. My firm conviction that everything is connected gets me in trouble time and time again. The world is a big place, and full of marvelous distractions, and offers plentiful opportunities for inquiry and exploration. I started writing to quell my constant queries, explore my discoveries, and nurture my curiosity. The Creative Flux was started in 2010, and became a catch-all for all kinds of intersecting interests. The start of Flutter & Hum at the end of 2013 marks my descent into plant nerd revelry. I occasionally contribute to other blogs, but those two are my main ones. For sure, topics are all over the map, but then again - so am I! Welcome to my blogs!
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32 Responses to Wednesday Vignette – the smallest flower

  1. janesmudgeegarden says:

    The comptonia is really interesting. I had never heard of it before.

    • annamadeit says:

      It’s a North American east coast native, that tends to create thickets where happy. I always get a kick out of when the flowers first show, but the leaves that emerge later, are stunning!

  2. tonytomeo says:

    Hortlandia? That is funny. Do most people in Oregon remember Portlandia?

  3. Mark and Gaz says:

    Great to appreciate these delicate beauties!

  4. Tina says:

    Sweet looking little things. I guess they time their blooms before the Big Show, so as to get noticed!

  5. Peter Herpst says:

    Delightful little blooms! There was a Comptonia peregrina in my garden for several years before it got shaded out but I never noticed these sweet blooms. It was great to see you at Hortlandia.

    • annamadeit says:

      Mine is getting to that point too, which is odd, because I was under the impression it liked shade. Anyway, I think it’s time for a little overhead clearing…. I want it to be happy! It was wonderful to see you too, Peter! Oh, and a preventative apology in case it happens again this week – last Wednesday WordPress and Blogger weren’t talking, so I couldn’t reciprocate comments on anyone using Blogger. Tried again later, but still, it wouldn’t work. So, in case you don’t see a comment from me on your Vignette, please know that it’s not for lack of my trying. Fingers crossed!

  6. Kris P says:

    Two unusual but terrific plants (neither of which I’m guessing would grow in my dry pocket of the world). I’ve had periodic issues of that nature with the Blogger-Wordpress connection. The odd thing is it never seems to be a universal problem and I’ve yet to find a solution other than waiting for someone to run a fix somewhere. Some WordPress bloggers seem to establish separate Google IDs to allow ease in commenting on blogger but I haven’t discovered the equivalent on this end.

    • annamadeit says:

      Yeah, it’s annoying, for sure… I’ll keep trying. The issues seem to appear as suddenly as they go away, but this is the longest spell I’ve experienced so far. It started over a week ago! As for the plants, I’m afraid you’re probably right. These are both temperate woodland/edge of woodland plants. Just know, I suffer similar pangs of lust when I see the fantastic things you grow. The grass is always greener… 🙂

  7. So sweet! Would love to see a photo of your fern table!

    • annamadeit says:

      Thanks, Aly! Will try to make a comprehensive post soon. This new one will be my fourth! Also, if you want to learn how, there is another workshop coming up at Joy Creek – in June some time. Also, I’m teaching a container planting class on May 6th, if you’re interested. The class schedule is below:

  8. Alison says:

    I’m still in the process of collecting plants for my fern table. These are both cuties. I love those bright little frothy blooms on the Comptonia. I think next time I visit Joy Creek I should make sure you are working, so you can advise me on plants to buy for a fern table.

    • annamadeit says:

      I would love to give you some fun ideas. I experimented a lot – this year will be the first trial, to see how viable those chances were – outside of my imagination.

  9. You’re so good at highlighting those little jems…and now I need to run outside and see what my Comptonia peregrina is up to (it’s just one little stick I got from Evan at last spring’s swap). My WV is also my Hortlandia haul:

  10. Pingback: Wednesday Vignette: (s)no(w) peas – A Moveable Garden

  11. mmwm says:

    Hortlandia! What a great idea. I love green flowers. It’s still winter here in NH:

    • annamadeit says:

      I do too – I have a soft spot fot both green and black flowers. I’m sorry you haven’t seen spring yet, but if it can make you feel a little better, I can tell you that we just had our first rain free day in two weeks. Hope you see the end of winter soon.

  12. MulchMaid says:

    I remember that Anemonella. Wasn’t it on the Windcliff table? I admired it, then I made the mistake of looking at the price tag. So glad you took the plunge!

    • annamadeit says:

      Yes, that’s the one! Feels almost obscene to pay that much for something that small, but hopefully it will grow. If I can keep it alive, I will share when it reaches some dimension. Sorry I lost you on Saturday- so very many distractions… Do you still want to split that Geranium?

  13. I’ve been appreciating tiny plants more and more. Love that Comptonia… wouldn’t it be funny to plant that around a Lyonothamnus? Just to weird people out. Speaking of trees, that’s where I went with my WV this week:

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