|Closeup view of Lathyrus vernus naroow leaf form|
|Lathyrus vernus next to Epimedium rubrum|
When I first came across this plant in nurseries, it did not speak to me because, frankly, it does not look like much in a nursery pot. Only after it has been in the ground for a few years and allowed to bulk up does its true worth become apparent. Now I would rate it as one of my top choices for the woodland garden.
And not only is the usual plant a top choice, but even better, I have found is this narrow leaf form, mainly because of the textural interest it adds to the garden. As you can see from the pictures above, the narrow, almost grass like leaves make a good contrast to some of the more broad leafed plants that populate a shade garden. One example of this is the contrast it provides to epimediums. Other examples might include trilliums, podophyllums, hostas (although I don't grow any hostas), hepaticas, hacquetias, hellebores, and cardiocrinums. I could envision an open and moist shady bed filled with nothing but cardiocrinums and this narrow leafed form of lathyrus! How cool would that be?
Kelly recently told me that he has been selecting seedlings of this form for even narrower leaves. Pretty soon he will have dispensed with the leaves altogether! Anyway, this plant is, of course, available from Far Reaches Farm.