As of this writing, launch of the space shuttle Endeavour has been again delayed; here in the garden, though, the Rocket has been soaring for days. That’s Ligularia ‘The Rocket,’ a perennial with a whorl of dark green leaves at ground level from which shoot skyward 5-foot-high vertical spikes lined with small, yellow flowers. The flowers open from the base up so each spike is streamlined by being more slender and less colorful as you look up the spike. Sort of like a rocket.
In contrast to the Endeavour, Ligularia ‘The Rocket” doesn’t need bright, sunny days to launch. In fact, leaves typically wilt in full sunlight. Then again, growing in shade, the spikes would curve towards light, ruining their rocket-like appearance. So filtered sunlight is generally recommended for this plant.
My Rockets are in full sunlight, just outside the low fence to the rear of the vegetable garden, where they provide the same sort of backdrop for the garden that a row of flags on poles do for a architecture. Fortunately, the vegetable bed right inside that fence receives daily quenching with drip irrigation, so the Rockets can steal a bit of water from across the fence and thrive.
Today is dry, sunny, and breezy, but the Rockets are soaring high.