Mid-Winter is a time for impractical garden dreams, when I think about getting plants that I don't need at a price I can't afford. Case in point - that fabulous, rich double pink Rue Anemone/Anemonella (Thalictrum thalictroides), 'Shoaf's Double Pink' a/k/a 'Oscar Shoaf.' I don't need another Anemonella, I already have a pink one and a blush double. But I still dream of this plant.
Two more dream-producing plants are also hybrids of a familiar native and are featured by that tempting nursery Plant Delights. From last year's drool-fest is Arisaema triphyllum 'Black Jack.' Added to that is the new entry Arisaema triphyllum 'Starburst,' a variegated Jack-in-the-Pulpit.(Both images are from the Plant Delights catalogue.) As is the case with the Anemonella, I already have the straight species of these plants. I don't need either one, but I can't help dreaming about how great either would look in the Woodland Garden.
I dream of Ladyslipper Orchids, the Cypripedium species and their hybrids. (Photo from Flickr)
Not only are they extraordinarily expensive, they are also difficult to grow. I doubt my soil will ever be able to support such plants, but in my Winter Pipe Dream garden, they bloom extravagantly.
The whole category of Intersectional Peonies is a pipe dream for me. Intersectional Peonies are hybrids of crossing herbaceous peonies with tree peonies, resulting in plants of herbaceous habit with tree peony flowers. The most common hybrid is 'Bartzella,' which routinely sells for over a hundred dollars a plant. The one that I want, 'Cora Louise,' is even more expensive. (Photo from A&D Peonies)
The thing about plant pipe dreams is that eventually, they can become reality. If you wait long enough, the price of many of these plants will come down to an affordable level. I just placed my order for double Bloodroot (Sanguinaria candadensis 'Multiplex'), which had been a Pipe Dream plant for many years.
So, what are your Pipe Dream plants?