Sturt’s Desert Pea (Swainsona formosa)

As a rule, I don’t care to spit into the wind when it comes to the plants I raise. In fact, I could probably write a book called “The Lazy Gardener”. However, living in northern latitudes, sometimes you have to spit into the wind if you are going to raise anything! A couple of years ago I bought some Australian plant seeds – Swainsona formosa. One of its common names is Sturt’s Desert Pea. Emphasis on desert. Like many plants in Oz, they have spectacular flowers. This spring I planted a few of them.

It was no surprise that they did NOT ‘grow like weeds’. As the summer wore on I lost confidence (but not hope) that they would flower. Just as I was about to give up, I noticed new buds that didn’t look like new leaf buds. Sure enough, they were flower buds. BUT… would there be enough light and HEAT to get them to blossom? As you have probably guessed, there was. Here are the first blossoms.

I added some pictures of their current development. I find the hexagonal nature of the ‘bunch’ interesting and appealing. I don’t think the dark spot is going to get any darker. These are certainly striking flowers. I would love to see them ‘in the wild’.


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