Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Some floral highlights of 2011 so far, Part one...


I am a fortunate mortal indeed: I dwell at a home surrounded by magical flowers, and work at a botanic garden with vast collections. Above is Anemone ranunculoides in the Rock Alpine Garden in spring....I will never get around to blogging about all these, so I will just cram in a bunch all at once with a sigh. Life is too short to get it all said...and pictures are supposed to be worth lots of words aren't they?



Anthriscus sylvestris 'Ravenswing' growing in full sun in the Schlessman Plaza at the Gardens...drives me nuts!




Aquilegia pyreneica (or something close) at Laporte Avenue Nursery...don't live or work there, but wish I did!





Argemone munita in my garden. Not for sissies (the poppy). Neither is my garden, come to think of it...




Asclepias subverticillata at DBG: there is more crazy stuff there..




The lower meadow in the Rock Alpine Garden filled with Asphodeline lutea...Dare started this and Kintgen has perfected it...aaaaaah!




Catanache caespitosa at my house with a little ice plant...(shhhhh!)




Clematis albicoma in the Rock Alpine Garden....this is so awesome. I think it was Mike Kintgen who put this here? To DIE for, don'tcha think?




But I did this: Convolvulus assyricus at DBG.



Erythronium albidum, also left over from my reign...



Galanthus nivalis 'Viridapice' at my place...



Globularia spinosa in my garden with lots of choice morsels around it..



Helichrysum praecurrens in the Rock Alpine Garden, from seed provided by the Bartletts from Sani Top...I could write twenty blogs around this plant. Oh well...

Iberis taurica (I think?) This is an incredible plant...some day I must blog about it.



Inula verbascifolia, from Mt. Olympus...



Iris bucharica growing like mad in the Lilac Garden...

Iris vicaria, in my garden!

Lilium concolor in Plantasia..


Monardella macrantha 'Marian Sampson' in our Orangery (this is everywhere at DBG!)


Nananthus transvaalensis bloomed most of last winter in my home garden...

And much much more!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

A few highlights from an Amazing year...(last half)


Origanum acutidens, with its cool lime green bracts, makes a stark contrast to the cobalt blue of Delphinium pylzowii, a wonderful miniature delphinium...both self sow a bit and live forever: classic rock garden gems! (Did I mention they bloom all summer?)






Where has this been all my life? We have a splendid colony of Ornithogalum magnum in Birds and Bees Garden at DBG, and Bob Nold had an almost equally lovely one...It seems to like a bit of shade, and is simply huge! What a great cut flower it would make...






No, I do not know the name of the white peony, but the red is none other than the double form of fernleaf peony...These are amazing clumps throughout the growng season, I especially like them in bud...




Whoever thought Papaver alboroseum would be so stunning growing out on ordinary loam in full sun? Haven't checked lately to see if it is still alive...










I think every shade they come in is my favorite. Still waiting to get the truly Vermilion 'Beauty of Livermere' but this pink one is not too shoddy...





Of the dozen or so pediocacti that I grow, the loveliest is the little snowball that grows just at the west end of the Metro area... or grew may be more accurate.



Penstemon eatonii in the Children's Garden. looking just like it would in Canyon country...




Pokeweed may be a horrible pest in the East but we love it out here, especially in this ghostly form.






Outlandish I know. Wish I had even more dwarf Platycodon grandiflorus...




Primula veris loves us, and self sows. Toughest primrose...






Mystery nodding gray pasqueflower...any ideas of its name?








Another nodding pasqueflower: believe this came as P. campanella








A stunning evergreen Pyrrhosia from Mongolia






Saxifraga x apiculata 'Alba' in a trough....




Sempervivum octopodes, with jade green flowers...




Biennial, I know, But I can never do without Symphyandra wanneri...






Tulipa albertii in springtime (amazing color!)





The typical pink form of Tulipa humilis: probably my favorite (self sows a lot and blooms two or three years...)



Yuccca rostrata was over the top. Unbelievable this year! They were everywhere at the gardens...(Dan Johnson knows no shame)...

Thursday, August 18, 2011

There ain't nuthin' better'n a rock garden!


Late April...daphne and draba time







Same berm, a month later, Aethionema and Iberis spreading cool pink and lavender matlets and Daphne alpina blooming at right...







June has a conflagration of delosperma, orange Anagallis monellii from Morocco, and more...



July adds more poppies and dwarf verbascum joining the mix...




August is cooler, with pastel Origanums and blue gentians just out of sight: but still trim and appealing...why on earth doesn't everyone have rock garden?







A closer look at the neoclassical extravaganza of oreganos and Inula verbascifolia, recreating Mt. Olympus in my back yard...makes me feel positively Zeusian! There ain't nuthin' better'n a rock garden my friend!








Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Red letter days and pale yellow cactus


Sometimes I wonder if I'm not like just another peak bagger, or hoarder, only I am gathering plants, plants and more plants into my life. I guess that is my business, as well as hobby (and obsession). So this isn't perhaps surprising...I generally grow hardy plants outdoors, and my indoor plants are afterthoughts and accidents I shimmy outside for the summer. They have to be pretty tough...and sometimes look it. When one of these likes me and thrives, I am impressed!

I acquired Astrophtum myriostigma somewhere along the way, a not terribly rare (in gardens), nor is it a terribly difficult cactus to grow. But not just everyone has one, and I've actually never seen it bloom before.

It's bloomed for me several times this summer: this is a cactus for anyone (even for those folks who say they hate cacti) since it has no spines, no glochids, just that incredibly sleek, smooth stem. And wonderful pale yellow flower. Somehow it's perfect!

I have much in my life to be thankful for: family, friends, relationships, work, Colorado...but having a new plant bloom for me is always a red letter day....I seem to have quite a string of these come to think of it! Such a tough life...but someone has to live it!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Salvia mundi!

Salvia phlomoides ex Morocco

It seems as though just about every year in my life, a new Delosperma, Penstemon, Eriogonum or Salvia seems to show up and shake things up again! Of course, these are all gigantic genera that have seen an enormous amount of interest in recent decades. I've probably grown more of the first three genera than just about anyone, I suspect, and have been one of the first to promote them on the mass market (although my name, alas, shall be primarily wedded with the first genus)...Salvia is just too damn pantropical. There are no end of weird Salvia in the new and old world tropics that just won't grow worth a damn in Colorado: just as they start to bud up in the fall they are inevitably felled by frost. Not that I'm bitter or anything. My friend Rich Dufresne (who practically invented both Agastache and Salvia in their current popularity) keeps tempting me with tender morsels, so to speak...I try hard to resist. There are so many temperate Salvia, and the best may be yet to come! This first haunting backlit image is of Salvia phlomoides a Spanish and Moroccan species introduced by the redoubtable Mike Kintgen, photographed in his garden in June. It is in the hypargeia/daghestanica/canescens tribe, and probably the best of the lot (which is saying a lot). It sets lots of seed....S. hypargeia was nearby, so let's hope some of it is non hybrid!







Not everything sexy HAS to be new: I have grown Salvia forskahlei for years, suffering over how to pronounce the accursed name. I finally got a little stand growing under my big blue spruce next to my driveway, and when it bloomed a few weeks ago (in late July! What a clever time for a plant to bloom! No way you can ignore it then) I was captivated by its blossoms in the backlight: lucky placement. I adore the elegant outline of these things, and their birdlike poise. I can never have enough Salvia. No, I am not talking divinorum (one of those tropical thingies)...





I blogged about Salvia caespitosa several years ago, but my lovely little clump (now gone) was horribly trumped by Mike Kintgen this spring who had numerous clumps scattered hither and yon in his jewel box garden. Surely, this is the alpine gem of the genus. I shall long remember Jim Archibald's picture of a lemon yellow form of this that hopefully persists on some Turkish hillside. What a thrill it would be to see it myself! And what a joy to collect it!




I am quite sure I shall continue to find gems in this genus: from Salvia indica in April to the rabble of late autumn sages, there is not a day in the growing season when one Salvia or another doesn't share its grace and fragrance in my garden. Salvia mundi indeed!





Saturday, August 13, 2011

More horseshoe.....by popular demand (Jeff anyway)

Common around the world (including on Horseshoe) I never tire of finding and sniffing Moss Campion (Silene acaulis), as good a reason as any for climbing a mountain. And no, mine don't bloom like this in my garden!

Physaria alpina is a great specialty of the Mosquito and Saguage mountains in central Colorado. It was only named in the 1980's: wonder what people thought it was before that? People includes me, since I hiked up there back then and must have seen it!



Ranunculus eschscholtzii may be the most annoying of all buttercups to spell. In Colorado, it is much less common than R. adoneus, and just as lovely.


Horseshoe has fine displays of Dryas octopetala, literally carpeting the slopes! And there is more (much much more)...but this should keep you amused for a while!