I love the most common garden plants, but I also love plants at the opposite end of the scale; plants with history, provenance, an intriguing name, odd shape or unusual color. I'm growing two spring bulbs that fall into the latter categories.
I kept watching them emerge and get taller (to about 12"), waiting for a clue to their indentity. A few days ago I realized the flowers were almost open, but were so subtle I hadn't noticed. The bell-shaped flowers are mostly green with purplish-brown edges and one to three per stem. These Fritillaries are growing in semi-shade at the edge of path under the trees where they look totally charming.
If I had only remembered these bulbs were in my garden, then I would have partnered them with the Fritiallaria imperialis 'William Rex" I planted as an experiment last fall. It's a shorter (18-24") version of the classic Crown Imperial but a "rich, dark, bronzy red," according to Brent and Becky Heath, where I bought the bulb. Looking at the photo on their Web site, I'm betting it would look great with the ponticas. I'll know for sure once King William blooms; then I can re-arrange the plantings and get it right for next year!