In horticultural Latin, “alba” means ‘white’, and yet… It always kind of annoys me when plants named ‘Alba’ turn out to be pink. The most obvious one that first comes to mind, is Fuchsia magellanica ‘Alba’. The Joy Creek website even states to “… not let the Latin word for “white” in the name confuse you.” Well, I’m confused. If words mean what they are supposed to mean, a plant with a name like that should look like this.
Anyway, a couple of years ago, I was thrilled to find a Thalictrum delavayi ‘Alba’ for sale at a spring garden show. When it finally bloomed later that year, it was – you guessed it – not white. Instead, it had this pastel lavender color that was light enough to look like discolored white laundry, and dark enough to not be a blushed white. well, crap! I guess it was still pretty, but again, I was annoyed.
Anyway, fast forward to last week. I noted that the pale, lavender flowers had opened. But, it wasn’t until a few days later when, morning coffee in hand, I noticed a spray of snow white flowers, emanating from another stalk on the same plant. Really?? What the hell…? My erring plant was finally starting to get it right, but….but HOW? What changed? This is one of those times when I feel like a total horticultural amateur. There has to be some explanation, but honestly, I don’t know it. Is this what is known as a sport? Or is there some other name for it? I’m putting the honest-to-dog question out here, because I really don’t know what to think. Do you guys know? Looking forward to some brilliant, botanical insights, here… 1,2,3, GO!
Also, the memes clashed, so today I’m also joining in with Carol at May Dreams Gardens for this month’s Bloom Day. Check it out to see what else is blooming around our struggling but still beautiful planet.