Monday, June 3, 2013

Blast from the Past: the why of scanning slides

Acaena inermis v. purpurea
 In one of his classic books, Geoffrey Charlesworth says that it doesn't matter if you've grown a plant--what matters is that you have taken a picture to PROVE that you've grown the plant! Well--the same can be said of plants you have seen. Or photographed elsewhere. Ann Frazier, a volunteer at Denver Botanic Gardens, has meticulously scanned some images I took years ago on transparencies: I thought I might be fun to post some of these for your elucidation and amusement...

Acaena is neither rare nor difficult--but I liked this particular picture taken twenty or more years ago at the University of British Columbia botanic garden: pictures like this are like little time capsules!

Acer granatense
I had never heard or Acer granatense prior to my 2001 visit to southern Spain...nor have I heard from it since. Despite collecting a bit of seed, none germinated. So as far as I know, this is still not in cultivation in America. Since this plant experiences months with no rainfall, I would think it would be a super candidate for xeriscapes...

Dan Johnson gathering a bit of seed of Acer granatense

Acer monspesullanus
Here is a cousin to the Spanish maple above--only this one growing at a private residence less than a mile from Denver Botanic Gardens. I suspect it may be 100 years old judging by its size and situation. It may be the finest tree in town. We now have a seedling of this at DBG producing its own seed...and another plant from a different source.

Adiantum venustum
I was shocked years ago to realize that the evergreen maidenhair fern of the Himalayas was very hardy. I've had some fine stands of this in various gardens (including my current one)...finding a plant in the wild you cherish in your garden is one of many rewarding aspects to gardening that are not often discussed. So I'm discussing it now! This picture was taken in a subalpine forest of Deodar cedars just below treeline in the Pakistan Himalaya. I would love to be at that spot right now...I suspect there would be fabulous displays of wildflowers there in the spring...

Adonis vernalis
I have seen Adonis vernalis many times since I took this picture, and grown it myself (or tried to)--but the first time I saw this, in April of 1981 is still the best. This picture was taken at Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh, where I shall be once again in a few weeks: hallelujah!

Agave utahensis v. kaibabensis
I have seen Agave utahensis many places, but what a thrill to see var. kaibabensis at a locus classicus--the Grand Canyon! Here shown with Susan Eubank, who was Librarian at the Canyon at the time, and now doing her bibliographic magic at the Los Angeles Botanic Garden. Although we obsessive plant people think it's just about the plants--it is just as much about The People--I have a long and sweet association with Susan, her husband Paul Martin and her enchanting daughter, Elisabeth--and love to visit with them each winter in Los Angeles...

Alcea kurdica
Some plants suffer from "glorious older sibling" syndrome, much as people do. Alcea rugosa has so robbed the limelight that this wonderful Turkish cousin, which I believe is much more drought tolerant, is almost unknown. It has been shooting off yellow fireworks for decades: one day I must have us propagate this for Plant Select testing...I think it is a winner.

Aletes acaulis
My daughter, Eleni and ex-wife, Gwen Moore two decades ago roughly, on Turkey Roost. However unpleasant a divorce is, my memories with Gwen are overwhelmingly those of our plant travels and gardens--both summit experiences of my life. I don't suppose she'd say the same. My daughter is still horribly adorable. As is the umbel.

Allium mirum
A plant is sold under this name that doesn't look quite like this: a picture taken a quarter century ago at Kew, and still eluding me...

Amsonia ciliata
Bluebird Nursery offered this gorgeous Amsonia for years--I notice they no longer do. I would love to try it again: I planted it in an unwatered garden where it actually survived for a while. Until one year that was a bit too dry. Love that fall color!

Androsace sericea
I noticed that Mike Bone still has some of this kicking around our greenhouses: notice those capsules full of seed. Taken at 13,000 in late September opposite Nanga Parbat, one of the highest peaks on planet earth.

Anemone coronaria 'De Caen'
I will long remember my shock when I saw these along the east west pathway at DBG: what really shocked me was that they came back several years in succession. Some of the things we have done are magnificent. We must do them again!

Anemone sp. Yunnan
An anemone in the Chinese Himalayas. I forgot which one...

Aquilegia cazorlensis
I grew this dang thing for many years, and miss it very much. I would love to be wafted to the Sierra Cazorla once again...and spend a good long time there.

Arabis caucasica v. lutescens
Another blast from the past--collected by one of the Czechs. Not terribly yellow. But yellow enough. Where is it now?

Araucaria araucana (Volcan Llaima)
Until one goes to the high Andes, one cannot imagine the exotic magnificence, the richness of the flora, the beauty of the people and the astonishing majesty of the peaks. There's smoke coming out of the volcano, incidentally!
Araucaria araucana (Volcan Llaima)
A youngster selling cones with not yet ripe seed in them. Don't ask me how I know...

Arisaema sp. Yulongshan
Growing in full sun on the slopes of the Jade Dragon peaks...those are anemones behind glimmering white...
Arisaema elephas
I was able to get a name for this one: growing in the same mountains in subalpine woodland.

Arisaema elephas
Some jerk (not me) dug this one up and left it on the boardwalk. The locals need a little training in environmental stewardship: the "national park" was overrun with herb collectors, kids on horseback, gawking city folk trampling everything and one and on. Harrumph!

Asperula nitida v. puberula
I still have a bit of this...I must propagate and regrow are excellent reminders and calls to action...

Aster alpigenus
I have yet to grow this abundant wildflower well--I think I took this picture in Oregon. Come to think of it, I've never seen it in anyone else's garden either...

Astragalus spatulatus s of Laramie
One of the magical roadsides in Wyoming--so many of which have been regarded and "improved" by idiot road people with invasive foreign grasses to make them look neat. If I were dictator, they'd be sitting in obligatory wildflower preservation classes....weekly.

Aloe ecklonis on Platberg, Harrismith
I'm sure I've blogged about this at least once. Maybe more. It is the yellow form of the hardiest grass aloe I've only found once. All of them were yellow here--I hope I shall have the opportunity to once again climb that magical mountain. Alas, next time I shall not have Koos with me. But I shall be thinking of him the whole time!


  1. You might want to take a closer look at the blue 'Androsace' label.

  2. Great "blast from past". Even though I'll probably never go to nearly any of those far-flung places, now I can - sort-of. Thanks. That's how I feel about my ex and our past, various trips, though she wasn't a plant person...the good memories are just fine with me.

    Seeing those trees that should/could be more common kindles my excitement for changing / improving / expanding what's mainstream as an LA...someday me or my predecessors will see that? The pic of Dan J. reminds me of meeting him in Kenton OK to explore the southern plants in the remote SE corner of Colorado

    Great stuff as always PK, maestro of the high plains steppe and far beyond.

  3. Great photos, as always. I grew that Aster (Osteospermum) for a few years in a pot, but I really wanted to be planted out and I didn't have the space ready, so they perished. I assume they're hardy for you since they grow above tree line here and have a deep snow cover until at least May. Next time I'm at the mountain I'll grab a few seeds to start again.


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