Sunset Red

"Sunset Pink"
Cliff Maids


"Be good, sweet maid, & let who will be clever
Do noble things, not dream them, all day long:
And so make life, death, & that vast forever
One grand sweet song."

-Charles Kingsley
(1819-1875)

   

"Sunset Strain" or "Sunset Hybrids" are seed-grown & have such extreme variety (for color & leaf forms) that once a given specimen is separated from its label, it will not be possible to tell it originated as a Sunset cliff's maid. As with other choice strains, the colors tend to be more intense & the flowers larger than for wild lewisias.

The evergreen rosettes tend also to be swifter in their growth than most lewisias. Ours have outgrown non-Sunsets planted around them in identical conditions. They may also be a bit more forgiving of imperfect conditions, though like any other Lewisia cotyledon they are at risk of rotting out of the garden if they remain too wet or are in poorly draining soil.

They are very drought hardy but they weather drought by going dormant & shrivelling; for a beautiful specimen, lewisias like slightly moist very well draining soil that is dry on the surface. A surface mulch of pea-gravel can help keep the leaves from sitting directly on moist soil. Setting thin flagstones around them can duplicate their natural tendency to grow from between cracks in cliff walls, & protect them from too much moisture.

This native of the Pacific Northwest has gained considerable popularity in alpine & temperate areas of Europe. Sunsets were developed by Jake Drake of the Inshriach Alpine Plant Nursery in the Highlands of Scotland. This was the first strain to gain mass-production popularity, so that comparatively inexpensive pots of first-rate specimens became available in regular rather than specialized nurseries.

This particular specimen is a deep shade of pink. It is shown here in May when in full flower. The flowers last until early June then have to be pinched off so that it will rebloom later in summer.
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Lewisia cotyledon Cupped 'Number 17 Pink'

   



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