Showing posts from August, 2013

Revisiting Kazakhstan--three years later...(photogallery)

I was fortunate three years ago to spend over three weeks in the Altai and Tien Shan mountains of Kazakhstan at the behest of Plant Select in the company of Mike Bone (curator of steppe collections at DBG), led by the indefatigable and always cheerful (and very knowledgeable) Vladimir Kolbintsev. We were following up on plants we'd seen in 2009, and covering some new territory on this trip. I have looked back and realized that though I'd published some of the best pictures from our 2009 trip on this blog (that's the highlighted link "plants we'd seen above--click on it to see them), I had never put most of these on this blog hitherto. Celebrating the three year anniversary of one of the highpoints of my life, I include a few images here for your enjoyment and consideration...

Andean treasure

All cacti seem to have miraculous flowers, but there is something about this pale moonlight shade I find especially pleasing. The genus Maihuenia has been assumed to be closely related to Opuntia, although I understand that recent analysis shows they may be a much more primitive: like Pereskia, but unlike Opuntia, Maihuenia keeps its leaves year around--a charming trait for a cactus! I'm talking true leaves now, not stems (the skinny green lozenges between the spines below)...  This plant at Sandy Snyder's garden blooms reliably and profusely every year.

For many years I thought this was about as big as these were apt to get in cultivation...then last week I visited Bill Spain, son of John Spain, who wrote a hardy cactus tome...   Bill brought John around to see me ten or more years ago, and apparently I shared a pot of this Maihuenia at the time...

He planted it and it has spread to almost 50" across! I have seen this plant in the central valley of Chile where it go…

Gee! More blasts from the past...(thanks Ann!)

Quietly encased for nearly twenty years, Ann Frazier has liberated this picture of Galtonia regalis (Thank you John Grimshaw for the identification) I took on an early trip to South Africa. On August 21, I have three enormous plants of Galtonia candicans blooming beautifully in one of my perennial beds--the first time I've had these at Quince St. It amazes me that plants so lovely and accommodating (and inexpensive in the trade--and easily grown from seed) are still so little known and seen. 

I collected a smidgeon of seed, that did not germinate. This densely pulvinate Gazania was quite common quite a few places around Middelpos. I have never seen it on Silverhill's list, nor anywhere of the hundreds of tantalizing gems I have seen in the high, cold central parts of the Karoo that should prove to be super garden plants in the dry west. When will this show up in a garden, I wonder?

We have managed this--albeit not in this wild form (which only blooms once in …