Showing posts from March, 2013

Bi-hemisphaeric twins: re-uniting Laurasia!

It will be a few months before our native globeflower begins to bloom in the high Rockies--but this, it's eastern cousin always blooms in April. Trollius are widespread in the Circumboreal, subalpine regions of both Eurasia and North America--but this taxon seems to have a very similar cousin in the Dzungarian and Tian Shan Mountains of Central Asia.
 Although the more "typical" globeflowers with bright orange, globular heads occur in both Tian Shan and Altai Mountains, this soft yellow form is found sparingly as well--much more reminiscent of our American species.
You can imagine my surprise when I found this whipcord saxifrage, which looks almost identical to what one finds twelve time zones away in the Colorado Rockies, growing in almost the same sorts of conditions!
   I actually managed to grow this in my garden--or trough rather: this is our native form of Saxifraga flagellaris--which looks identical to its Asian cousin.
Mountain Avens or Dryad is universal in t…

Мать Россия

Mother Russia, if you have problem with the Cyrillic above. She is often conceived as something along the lines of the monumental  «Родина-мать зовёт!» - "The Motherland Calls!", the Soviet Realistic sculpture at Volgagrad, which I admit I rather admire (blush). But may I suggest a more appropriate symbol may be this most ethereal and evocative of peonies...or click on the video below,

Or how about Stipa ucrainica (a video made in the Rock Alpine Garden of Denver Botanic Gardens a few years ago) which may be even more appropriate...but I digress.

The real impetus for this blog post is this book. I have been plodding, or I should say, browsing through this contemporary Anthropological/Linguistic/Archeological/Historical classic by David Anthony: an astonishing tour-de-force filled with exhaustive data compiled through a suite of sciences that traces the parameters of the prehistoric Indo-European people and language in time and space. There was a pretty precise historical mo…

When it's springtime in the Rockies.....

Image can snow and snow and snow. My friends in New England are complaining bitterly about their accumulating snowload, but truth be said, we are grateful for every dump of snow (although I wish my son didn't have to drive back to school in Arkansas with his friends through the blizzard conditions)... It seems as though every time Denver Water declares "drought" the Heavens open up. The bizarre and really egregious water law of my beloved native state makes a mockery of climate and weather. 
I'm cheating: I took these pictures a few weeks ago after the LAST snowy episode--we have the same amount of snow today, but the rabbits and deer have yet to pock mark it with their trails. Both critters--as cute as they may be--have been causing some depredation of concern. Time to rent a cougar, or at least a fox.

Paradise postponed

What if they created a park, and no one came? That's sort of what occurred at Centennial Park in the heart of Denver--a lavish, really wonderful garden built by a former mayor as a sort of culmination to his administration. I had quite a bit of input in the design of this one--but many horticulturists had a hand: the purpose was to show a Watersmart formal garden (and I think it fulfilled its purpose manifold). This year with drought restrictions already in place, perhaps the City and County of Denver should revisit this spectacular garden...the bulb displays were the best I've ever seen in town (they loved the summer droughts)...

 Yet another parterre--each one was different. You can't tell looking at this the transformation that took place once the bulbs died down. Our wonderful native Zinnia grandiflora--yes, both a native and a perennial zinnia, which does best in harsh soils and great heat--took over the space from the bulbs and created months of glorious…

The magus of Santa Barbara

I have been privileged to visit many gardens in many cities, but few have enchanted me like John Bleck's little masterpiece. "Little" sounds so patronizing--John's garden is in a suburban neighborhood with typical modest lots--his does seem more generous than most. But it is the way he has conjured it that is amazing: Jan and I spent several days with John as his guest (our stay had been arranged by Greg DeChirico--president of the Cactus and Succulent Society of America, who had just arrived back from Columbia about the same time we got to Santa Barbara). Typically, John opened his house to strangers--although I think we stayed in that state for a nano-second: like all bona fide plant nerds, we bonded promptly and eternally! What can I say? I am posting a ridiculous number of pictures of John's majestic, endless, artistic, jam-packed and just generally perfect garden: can you imagine--in February? Santa Barbara is everything it's cut out to be in the mythol…