Friday, February 11, 2011

Winter blaaahs....

Nothing wintry about George here...I post this as a reminder that in barely a month I expect that we will have Draba hispanica and the first Corydalis in full bloom. This week the temps have dropped below zero repeatedly and daytime highs have been in the lowest double digits (Farenheit to be clear!) and icy snowpack is everywhere. Everyone is starting to get the gardening itch, and the local industry trade show was hopping.

I first created this acetic combination at Eudora--a garden that is gradually decaying as I type. We redupicated and amplified the combo in the new rock garden at my Quince house, where both the draba and the corydalis are expanding. I noted the Spanish Draba's Latin epithet above, but Corydalis solida 'George Baker' is now my focus. There are dozens, if not hundreds of named selections of what used to be called Corydalis transylvanica: coupled with Corydalis solida, you can find the entire spectrum of pinks, magentas, pure quite, appleblossom and quite a few varying reds. But good old 'George' is still the brightest to my eyes. I added another red clone at Eudora and they began to hybridize and proliferate from seed, but we have kept this one pretty pure and seemingly childless. It is dead easy to divide, however (I like to do so while they are still in full bloom). Dig up the clump, pull each piece apart and replant promptly, water in, and next year you will have a husky stem or two or three each with their hot red flowers. You may or may not want to repeat the red and yellow combo (it's not patented). It does work!

I am including several pictures of 'George' from different angles and in different lights to demonstrate several things: most of all, how much plants differ in the brightness of their colors depending on ambient light, and also to show the charm of a rock garden planting. As you move around the rock garden, a single cluster of plants changes perspective and loots utterly different. Just as a kaleidoscopoe shifts dramatically with each turn of the cylinder, every few steps around a rock garden reveals new vistas and vignettes. Even now, blanketed in snow, a rock garden has the pleasing contours and smooth curves I admired much of this past year at work with the monumental Henry Moore sculptures...although my rock garden cost a lot less!

Aaaah Spring...will it ever come?

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