Those Beautiful Purple Bells? Iochroma Cyanea

The recent post on building a home greenhouse included a snapshot of flowers therein, tastefully set off by beaucoup de snow outside. Most responders wanted to know what they were, but one reader not only knew, she went me far, far better in doing justice to Iochroma cyanea, a plant that as far as I know has no common name.

Iochroma cyanea by Bobbi Angell

The artist, Bobbi Angell, is my former partner-in-column at the New York Times, and after many many trips to exotic places, drawing plants for the New York Botanical Garden (among others),  she has no doubt forgotten more about tropical plants than I will ever learn.

“I tried overwintering one in the cellar ,” she wrote, “and had just brought it up two days ago so don’t know yet it if survived but I sure hope so… here is an etching  from a wild plant in Ecuador that I saw last year. I love the plant! ”

In her next e-mail, she wrote “Now tell me to quit poking at my dormant plant checking for signs of life lest I kill it off in anticipation. There is green under the bark but won’t be for long if I scrape any more off with my fingernails.”

What she doesn’t know is that I should do that telling while looking in the mirror. I was just down in the basement scratching – vainly; I’m going to need a pruner – at the lemon verbena, and at the biggest brugmansia, which I have a feeling is going to emerge somewhat less big.

No worries about the smaller brugmansia or the giant herd of figs (well, 5 seems like a herd); they all have pale green new growth and must be moved back into the light asap.

That’ll be as soon as we get back… I’m playing semi hooky to go hunting for black morels, always the first of the season.

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