Clarkia unguiculata, Mountain Garland

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Clarkia unguiculata

Mountain garland, the tallest of the clarkias, rises on long slender flower spikes from 2-3' tall. In shades of bright pink, purple, and soft lavender, it is beautiful at the back of the flower border or with individuals rising up from a mass of lower-growing flowers. I like it in islands among chaparral shrubs, like Artemisia californica, California sagebrush. Blooming early to mid-summer, its flowering can be prolonged with successional sowings.

Also, it is the host plant (required nursery) for the caterpillar of the "Day-flying Clark's Sphinx Hawkmoth" (Proserpinus clarkiae), a beautiful native hawk moth found throughout California and the West, and to be viewed in the slideshow above. All clarkias are used as a nectar source for other beautiful and colorful day flying hawk moths, such as the the white-lined Sphinx and the glass winged hummingbird moths.

This species makes one of the longest-lived cut flowers as well. It can last in a vase for over a month.