Posts

Showing posts from April, 2013

Vistas and vignettes: second walkabout Peter Korn's garden

Image
A few days ago I featured some of Jan Fahs' images from Peter Korn's remarkable nursery and garden--this is the first of several posts where I will try and show a bit more: we're talking about many acres, greenhouses, gardens everywhere. How does one capture such a multifaceted spot where every view is a vista and every closeup is a precious vignette? Well--you shall just have to scroll through my blogs and try to parallax the truth! Above is typical of the intimate views one gets here and there all over the vast property....the magic of rock gardens!


We had heavy frost several days in the early morning, and of course the alpines were loving it! Boy, would I love to have a nursery near me selling fat pots of this Saxifrage in my vicinity! Notice the dead foliage of the autumn gentians: the nursery has hundreds of pots full of these that must make a spectacle in the autumn! I'd scarf these up too if they were a tad nearer to me...
                                   …

Stranger in paradise

Image
I was the stranger: this is a picture of the master. The paradise is Gothenburg. What can I say? Now that Jim Archibald has passed away, I think Henrik is the greatest living gardener in the world (in my humble opinion). Spending a large part of a sunny day in Gothenburg, at the height of spring bloom for the bulbs--well, what can I say? This is a day I shall long remember. If you are not aware of it, the botanic garden in Gothenburg, Sweden, is probably the finest institution of its kind on planet earth. I can think of no other botanic garden which has done more ground breaking research in the Caucasus, in China, all over the Himalayas and Central Asia, throughout the Mediterranean and Europe, in North America and the southern Hemisphere--bringing back an enormous volume of plants new to cultivation, new to science, and growing them to perfection. A visit to Gothenburg for a plant nerd is tantamount to apotheosis! And believe you me, I'm lovin' it!

 Tulips galore in the gla…

Nordic gods still around: great rare plant nurseries of the world...

Image
I suppose there are people who haven't yet heard of Peter Korn: no one in the rock garden world can have missed this phenomenon who has burst upon the scene internationally. I couldn't resist arriving a few days ahead of "Nerd Day" (Peter's annual spring symposium staged in the nearby village) to enjoy his hospitality and check out his nursery...


As a botanic gardener, I am basically a frustrated nurseryman. For me, visiting rock garden and rare plant nurseries has been a lifetime mission: I have sought out dozens in obscure corners of America and Europe (and even a few in South Africa). These have been the holy grails of my professional career: the Siskiyou Rare Plant Nurseries, Heronswoods, Annie's Annuals, Plant Delights, Far Reaches Farms to name a few of the better known ones...Peter Korn's is a fine one to add to this list...with a twist! We'll get to that in a minute, but first...the bulb house...

In another blog posting we will take a closer…

Winners and losers

Image
In this never ending winter (which is quickly racking up the longest list of damaged and dead plants I've tallied in years), there are some clear winners and some painful losers. It is probably premature (not to mention somewhat tempting the fates) to be too sanguine about the former....but I think I can say that native plants in general, and cacti in particular do not seem to have shown the slightest problem with our arctic blast of early April (7 degrees on April 8 with very little snow cover): Many, many Eurasian plants (Iris, Narcissus, Paeonia, Lilium, Tulipa, Hyacinthus) and almost all flowering trees (Magnolia, Prunus, Cercis, Malus) and shrubs (Forsythia, Syringa, Viburnum, Ribes) that would normally make this time of year wonderfully festive are fried, cooked, zapped, blackened, and possibly damaged beyond just this spring's display. I suspect there are some plants that have been killed outright. Not quite ready to name names--but are Colchicums usually pitch black …

Wordy Wednesday

Sorry: no pretty pictures!

I might have had some pretty images to share yesterday: snow on agaves, snow on yuccas--that sort of thing (we got almost 10" of snow that melted like butter on a skillet--mostly gone in a day!), but I forgot to load my charging battery in my camera: you shall just have to imagine them.

I happened to look at an old blog from last year--there was more blooming in February than there is now in mid-April: the most devastating spring in over half a century. It will take months--maybe years--to assess the extent of damage from our severe frost on April 8--when we had 7F and only a dusting of snow. So strange to have almost our entire suite of spring bulbs wilted or frozen utterly--and all the flowering shrubs and trees fried for at least a month: no crabapple fruits to bother tidy gardeners this year.

I am sure that by mid-summer our gardens will have "healed" and the damage will not be as obvious. But after seven of the most perfect springs in Col…

Daft over Drabas!

Image
 I know, they're almost all the same crazy tone of chartreusy yellow. And yes, I know they almost all bloom in the early spring. But after the last nutty cold snap on April 8, when the temperature dropped to +7F with only a dusting of snow (I know--it could have been -7F), just about the only group of plants in my garden that haven't wilted or just plain turned black are the drabas. And yes, I know--most of our native plants are still dormant (they know about these late frosts)--but alpine plants are a different creature altogether: they LIKE the cold! Which is why you must come to our Rocky Mountain Chapter rock garden sale this Saturday at Mitchell Hall (Denver Botanic Gardens) and load up! The Draba polytricha above was taken yesterday: could anything be more enchanting?  I can tell your eye is drawn to the bright red Corydalis solida 'George Baker' in this picture: Stop that! Look at those lovely cushions in front (those red corydalis weathered the frost OK, but…

HELL! ichrysums! The white ones...(Good as it gets, buster!)

Image
I think I have already quoted my ex (Gwen Moore) in this blog, who used to say that "white is not a color": here too we disagreed. I do think white is a color and a damned nice one. Ten jillion Bridezillas a year can't be all wrong (white is the cliché color for weddings is it not?), and Vita did not choose orange for her twilight garden at Sissinghurst. If you are not a fan of white flowers and wooly white cushions, you do not deserve to know or visit the Drakensberg (which are acre per acre the greatest place on earth for alpines including your frickin' Himalayas). Why do I bring up the Draks in mid April, 2013? Because if I could that's the place on earth I'd most rather be right now--OK, Maybe I'd settle for the steppe near Almaty, which is probably a sea of tulips blooming! I kick off the blog with the kicker of the genus, the silky, gorgeous Helichrysum milfordiae--well established in horticulture from the time it was first introduced by Helen Mil…