2006 was the year we spent our first summer in our home. I had been dying to finally be able to plant perennials—or really anything—anywhere I wanted on my property. Being confined to a handful of potted annuals on a 4 x 6 foot porch that faced a parking lot for 5 years had really gotten old. Okay, so we also had a view of the Maumee River from our porch, but regardless I didn’t have a yard to call my own and the foliage was less than desired. A lawn full of goose crap and a bunch of weeds and grape vines growing on the hill that led down to the river. The hill that was primarily out of view from our place. Let’s just say that we mostly saw parking lot and grass. Plus, the gardener in me wanted to spread her photosynthesis-driven wings far and wide.
Come on do it. See how much this camera rocks.
That first spring in our home I was ecstatic to be able to hunt for the perfect plants in my yard. In 2006 I found the balloon flower. I had never seen this beauty before but I was intrigued by what I saw on the little flower identification tag tucked along the edge of the pot.
Platycodon graniflorus has not disappointed. What started out as this tiny 5 inch plant has grown into this huge showy display. The branches seem to get so heavy and they just sprawl in all directions. I’ve been so happy with it that I bought another one this year. It looks so sad compared to the monster I planted two years ago. I know how much potential it has though, so I just smile at its minuteness.
The flowers are so cool that the whole growing process is something to marvel. The buds start out small and round like an underdeveloped grape. Then they puff up and take on the appearance of a hot air balloon with out the bucket.
When they finally open they look like five-pointed stars with almost all trace of the balloon shape gone. Just beautiful.
They thrive in sun to part sun and come in a variety of colors. Very easy to grow and require little in the terms of maintenance. Plus they add some real visual interest to the landscape. I’m so happy I discovered their existence.