The Evening Primrose

In a former life, I worked at numerous health-care facilities in Western Pennsylvania.  My favorite, by far, was the Latrobe Area Hospital.

It was a smaller hospital, located in a quaint neighborhood on the outskirts of Latrobe, PA.  I will always remember the feeling I had at my very first interview at the hospital.  Walking down a long hallway not really sure where I was going, every one of the people I passed said hello and offered to help me find my way.

After working for 15 years in the heart of the City of Pittsburgh, this friendliness was striking.  It turned out to be genuine.  And it started from the top.

The President of the hospital attended each and every one of the monthly orientation programs for new employees.  He met everyone at orientation, and he remembered names!  The first time I passed Mr. Clark in the hall – “Good morning, Elizabeth!”.  I was stunned.

The Hospital’s Foundation held numerous fundraising events throughout the year to benefit the hospital.  That long hallway I walked down that first day played host to many of these events.

I purchased one of my favorite gardening books at the annual book sale.


The coffee shop at the hospital, The Little Shop, was also run by the Foundation.  It housed the cutest gift shop.  I would stop in there at least once a week, intending to browse, but inevitably finding a great doo dad for the garden or decoration for the house.

The annual plant sale was one of my favorite fundraisers.  Local gardeners and garden shops would contribute live plants.  I purchased at least one plant at each of these sales.  It’s where I picked up one of my most memorable specimens, the Evening Primrose (oenothera triloba),

It was kind of a sad looking specimen, and the lady who was selling the plants told me to just take it, she wasn’t sure it was going to make it.  It looked like a wilted dandelion, to be honest.  But I took it home and planted it right in the front of the border outside my front door.

stemless evening primrose
stemless evening primrose

That was probably at least 10 years ago.  That sad little “dandelion” has made an appearance in my garden every year since.  And I have given numerous pieces of it away – I was even able to add this variety to Alice’s garden.  It’s very hard to find something that Alice doesn’t already have!

When the kids were younger, it was always fun to try and guess how many Evening Primrose would bloom.  And just around 9:00 each night, we would go out and watch the flowers bloom.  I kid you not, we would go out and actually watch the small buds show a tiny bit of yellow, and wait for it, within 5 minutes you could actually watch the flowers bloom.

I was always so thrilled, and to this day, I ask the kids (teenagers now who have better things to do than watch a flower bloom) how many they think bloomed tonight!

Update posted 6/28/2015:  I finally captured the blooming of the Evening Primrose!  Well, it’s not my first attempt by any means.  At Brittany’s suggestion, I set up the mini tripod last evening.  The videos I’ve tried without the tripod are so shaky, they give me motion sickness!  

Pretty cool, huh?  Only 2 last night!