I have been fascinated by Pearly Everlasting shrubs since I first saw them when I took a class at Seattle’s Discovery Park in November of 2017. They are the plants with white flowers in the background of the photo below.
I put 10 Pearly Everlasting shrubs on my 2018 Greenbelt plant order. When they arrived, in November 2018, they were in small containers. Each pot held one or two stalks. There was a small cluster of white flowers at the top of each stalk.
During the winter, the stalks withered away. I wondered if the plants had died. I was excited when I noticed new growth emerging from the ground on January 27, 2019.
This is what the plant looked like on March 26.
The plants grew fast. By May 14, they were this tall. I thought they were beautiful.
Imagine my surprise on June 10 when I found that all of the stalks on one of the plants had collapsed; they weren’t strong enough to support the weight at the top.
I thought it may have happened because the area where these four Pearly Everlasting plants were planted used to be a compost pile, so the dirt is very rich. Maybe the shrubs grew too fast. Overtime though, all of the Pearly Everlasting shrubs on our site collapsed in a similar fashion.
When it first happened, I wrote one of the Green Seattle Partnership Program Managers and asked if this was normal. She said she hadn’t heard of it occurring before but would check with other people. She was told it happened because there weren’t enough stalks; when there are more, the stalks will support each other. Hopefully there will be many more stalks emerging from the ground next year.
Even though the plants collapsed, they kept growing. In some ways, it was as if each stalk was a separate plant. On June 15, I saw a flower beginning to bloom at the end of one of them.
The photo I chose to use at the top of this post was taken on July 5.
And this is what one of the plants looked like yesterday, July 26.
It will be interesting to see if enough stalks grow next year so that they are able to support each other, and the weight of their flowers. I wonder if they will be thicker and more sturdy. I also wonder when the plants will look like the shrubs I saw in 2017. Meanwhile, I will enjoy the mystery.