January 12, 2012
Corydalis lutea
Photo by Jessica Walliser
I was surprised to find corydalis peeking out from under the snow in my garden.

We’ve had a bit of snow here in Pennsylvania, so the garden has been fairly still for the past week—but I found a surprise yesterday as I headed out to fill the bird feeder. When walking past the shade garden, I noticed something yellow popping out of the leaves, and there, in a nicely sheltered nook, was a cluster of flowers on one of my all-time favorite plants: Corydalis lutea.

This flower has become one of my favorites for reasons even beyond it’s incredibly long bloom time. Corydalis lutea is a tough little perennial that brings its bright yellow flowers to shady sites from April all the way until November (and sometimes beyond). The blue-green foliage is nearly fern-like in its delicacy and stands through the heat of summer with little, if any, supplemental watering. It grows 14 to 18 inches tall and each clump spreads nearly as wide. The plant’s tendency to self sow in the sweetest of places has certainly made my garden more interesting. Baby corydalis is now coming out of my rock wall and in between the stepping stones!

Corydalis lutea one plant that I can’t be without in my garden—apparently even in January. I do wonder, though, how long those blooms will last.

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