Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Bouncing back from the snow... (after the "bomb cyclone" After the snow: the Show must go on!

Draba polytricha
One of the many reasons to love alpine plants is that they're immune to "bomb cyclones" and other more or less mythical phenomena (Colorado always gets spring snowstorms and always will)...

Verbascum atropurpureum
Fresh foliage on one of the best Verbascums--possibly just a race of V. phoeniceum, but one that is soundly perennial, self sows moderately, and has deep violet-purple flowers.

Tulipa humilis
Several tulips self sow for us--this is my favorite...
Tulipa humilis

Corydalis shanginii ssp. shanginii
Still hanging in there--a division of a gift from Goteborg Botanic Garden over 30 years ago.
Cooper's Hawk
Or possibly a Buteo--not as good with birds as I am with plants. It swooped down in front of me and snatched a nearby garter snake instead of the dozen or so bunnies that plague my garden: chubby, very succulent and delicious bunnies, I'm sure. (Gruesome movie to prove it: https://youtu.be/pG5zsH31wUQ.)
Fritillaria michaelovskyi
I am thrilled to be going to Greece, but will be sorry to miss my garden in bloom while I'm gone...like these Frits!
Tulipa cf. albertii
It's always a good year for tulips.
Ornithogalum cf. nanum
I've been acquiring lots of stars of Bethlehem (including the weedy one)...and none of the little ones are weedy, dang it! But they come back reliably...
Ornithogalum (different)
And bloom early.

I love yellow and blue in nature and the garden...
Tulipa greigii
These took more of a hit in the cold than other tulips. Not sure why..
Paeonia tenuifolia and Crocus flavus
Newly divided fernleaf peonies coming up strong their first year...

Narcissus fernandesii
Yellow jonquils love my garden--and I love them.
Scilla siberica
I know it's a tad weedy, but what a color!
Lomatium grayi
I must grow more biscuit roots!

Fritillaria amana
There are masses of this at Denver Botanic Gardens self sowing in one garden. But at least I have one (mine looks like a smaller form).

Viburnum farreri v. nanum Fried
The whole top of my little viburnum was fried by the cold: hope the branches sprout again. First year it bloomed for me too--my worst casualty in the cold.
Fritillaria persica (v. prostrata?)
These frits were flattened but persist, sort of like the Democratic party...

Draba hispanica
Irrepressible and essential in any garden. It's been blooming for months!
Narcissus watieri
 I love this thang. Mike Kintgen grows it superbly in his buffalograss lawn.
Pulsatilla halleri
Slightly out of focus--but had to share...love how this comes up.
Erythronium umbilicatum
A gift of Tim Alderton, fantastic horticulturist of the J.C. Raulston Arboretum: he sent me a white one too, but it may have died. This has settled in beautifully!

Scilla mischetnkoana
My new second favorite Scilla. My favorite I saw almost exactly a year ago in Georgia (Caucasus), Scilla rosenii. At treeline in the Lesser Caucasus above Bakuriani. Where I dream to visit again.

Fritillaria caucasica
I saw this in seed in the Caucasus, and love watching it come back year after year...

Corydalis solida forms
These look just like they did before the cold...

Bergenia 'Silberlicht' (I think)
I love this crazy genus. One of my fondest memories of Pakistan were the acres of Bergenia stracheyi above treeline.
Draba bruniifolia (ex Toros dag--very dwarf)
A super plant I've had forever no one else seems to grow--and I share seed!

Fritillaria sp. ign.
AA mystery frit--absurdly tall. I love it.
Coluteocarpa vesicarius
Somewhat flattened by the snow but persisting nonetheless. I must grow more of this--one of the most delightful crucifers with outrageous swollen seedpods. Another gem I saw in the wild last year--so rewarding to have one's garden connect with the magical wild places still left on the planet. I like to think of my garden as a sort of nerve center connecting me with Nature. Probably won't post much right away: boarding a plane in a few hours...

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

My "national" corydalis...C. malkensis

Corydalis malkensis
If states can have state flowers, why can't we have our own personal "national" flowers? Although I grow quite a few corydalis, none have taken to my garden as much as this species, which is getting to be a tad much. Which I love!

I first obtained it from Kath Dryden, with whom I was exchanging seed and plants. I put out a half dozen or so at my first house on Eudora where they settled in and began seeding. And seeding. Some plants would make me nervous when they seed like that--not this one! Every seedling seemed to grow in a great spot, and pretty soon they made a veritable carpet of glistening ivory. And what a wonderful commemoration of the great English Plantwoman!

C. malkensis and Anemone blanda
When we moved to our current house twenty years ago, I dug a number of the bulbs (I have a hunch there are still more than ever in the original garden) and planted them in the shade of our newly planted Musclewood trees (Carpinus caroliniana) where they took off like the proverbial. And each year now they spread their bounty and show up further and further from the original spot they were put! They look especially fetching along with Anemone blanda and other blue flowered plants I think.

Here is that original colony taken a few days ago: it's YUGE! and getting huger. Should I be worried? Nah! These will completely disappear by the middle of May--and this spectacle in late March (they've been blooming for weeks) and April is so stunning--and they are so easily dug if need be (I've shared them with many friends) I'm not the least bit worried.

Corydalis incisa
And now for a slight change of subject, here's a picture I took a few weeks ago in friends' garden in Maryland: what a fine and delicate Corydalis THIS is...like C. malkensis, it pops up early in the spring and blooms for weeks with bright color and delicate foliage. Unlike C. malkensis, however, I would regard this as definitely truly weedy and borderline invasive (it can't be put in the same class as Callery pears or cheatgrass however--the truly noxious weeds). I'd characterize this more as an ObNoxious little pest: so charming that the weak willed will leave it--and soon it will carpet much of their garden and the neighbors and show up down the street in a few years. C. malkensis spreads neither so far nor so quickly: you could easily eliminate it, while this winter annual could be a problem in moister climates. That said, I did bring a little tuft home (insert smiling emoticon)....

Another closeup of our little darling! Spread away dear!

And here you see the dangling seedpods getting ready to explode and expand the colony a bit: YAY!

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Go figure: a tale of two lilies

Erythronium tuolumnense
I've only grown this a few years, and it's already clumping up. Superficially, this closely resembles the glacier lily that grows by the untold million throughout the West. This species, however, is restricted to relatively low altitudes in just one county in California (Tuolumne County as you might guessed). It's rather frustrating to think that it's probably in full bloom there as I type this: perhaps some day I'll have a chance to see it in its native habitat. You can see its precise distribution at this website.

Erythronium tuolumnense at dawn
I always find it astonishing how different a plant can look in different lights: I took this second picture a few hours earlier than the first..

Distribution map for Erythronium tuolumnense (BONAP)

Here's a schematic distribution map showing Tuolumne county, where the trout lily grows in nature--mind you, its range is only a small portion of that county. Compare it with the BONAP map I copied below of Erythronium grandiflorum, the most common and widespread of North American species in the genus.

Erythronium grandiflorum

I took this picture fifteen years ago--and I could add a dozen other pictures I've taken all over the West of this, one of my favorite native plants. I've transplanted it from the wild on several occasions, and even had it bloom in my garden. Kirk Fieseler has a small colony he grew from seed at Laporte Avenue Nurseries...but I don't know anyone who has a lot of luck with this, although I wouldn't doubt that it would grow well in Scotland or Sweden, where Erythronium is very popular now and grown superbly. I suspect it would do better in cool climates since it does generally grow at high altitudes in Colorado at least, I've not seen it much lower than 8,000' and I've found it up to 12,000'.

Distribution map for Erythronium grandiflorum (BONAP)

I find it astonishing that a plant with such restricted distribution as Erythronium tuolumnense can have such vigor and latitude growing in the garden, while the species found throughout the Southern, Middle and Northern Rockies (not to mention large parts of Alberta and British Columbia) is slow and fussy in cultivation.

Go figure!

Thursday, April 4, 2019

April! No foolin'...

Primula denticulata
 The endless winter seems to have retreated (for a few days at least...and I couldn't resist dashing around Denver Botanic Gardens and glimpsing some of the early wave of bloom...not needing much commentary, except hooray!

Pulsatilla vulgaris

Narcissus (perhaps 'Jetfire'?)

Helleborus 'Heronswood double'

Erica carnea
Chionodoxa  'Pink Giant'
Iris reticulata 'Harmony'

Helleborus niger  has been blooming since January!

New sculpture exhibit
 The titles of the sculptures have not been put up yet--will add them when they do. Sneak preview!

Tulipa kaufmanniana in thye Steppe Garden

Iris x reticulata cv.

Fritillaria eduardii
Rheum nanum

Ornithogalum sp.

Anemone nemorosa (probably not 'Wyatt's Pink'

Viburnum farreri 'Nanum'

Helleborus foetidus and Ophiopogon nigrescens

MORE Chionodoxa

Opuntia engelmannii and Yucca faxoniana

Anemone blanda

Galanthus nivalis 'White Dream'

Erica carnea

Galanthus plicatus ssp. byzantinus

Tussilago fanfara (worth growing for the name alone)

Primula elatior and Corydalis solida fms.

Helleborus multifidus red form

Galanthus elwesii Giant

Corydalis sp. (not sure which!)

Corydalis malkensis

Pulsatilla halleri

Helleborus multifidus ssp. hercegovinus

Galanthus nivalis 'Lady Beatrix Stanley'

Arbutus xalapensis

MORE Chionodoxa

Sweet peas

You wouldn't BELIEVE the fragrance

I'm afraid our Echiums have been sampling McDonalds a tad too much?

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