Location, location, location...(some thoughts on zone denial etc.)
|Alpine House, Kew in 2010|
|Inside the alpine house|
|Salvia daghestanica in the Kew Alpine House|
|Salvia daghestanica in Denver|
It produces a few more blossoms in our intensely sunny steppe climate as well you notice!
|Puya cf. caerulea outside the alpine house|
|Closeup of the Puya blossom|
Before you start to feel as though Denver is more congenial for growing things than England, consider the puyas: Kew boasts several vast mounds of puyas growing unprotected at the fringes of their rock garden--this would almost certainly perish with the first hard frosts we experience in Denver (Kew is Zone 8--some years barely experiencing frost at all)...location, location, location.l
Boy, would I love to grow this Puya outdoors here: I guess we'll have to settle for agaves and yuccas (although I did see puyas growing very high indeed in the Andes once...)
|Scarlet bugler penstemons (left) and Apache plume (far right)|
|Myrtle spurge Euphobia myrsinites|
One of the most surprising "treasures" I saw at Kew was this ancient, gnarly, bonsai-like spurge--a plant which is classed as a noxious weed in Colorado! I have seen this Euphorbia lovingly displayed at many European botanic gardens. Euphorbias present some fascinating issues I have discussed elsewhere...how can a plant that is pestiferous in Denver be a treasured alpine house denizen in England? Location, location, location!
I am coining the term "charismatic nega-flora" for plants like this which have inspired a veritable witch-hunt like zeal while the much nastier (but less attractive) Euphorbia esula causes far more trouble in meadows and median strips around Denver (I have pictures to prove this contention). There is a contemptible streak of puritanism in the noxious weed movement that focuses unduly on plants with ornamental merit. If you are reincarnated as a weed--hope that you are homely and you are apt to escape the weed-mongers scythe altogether!
|Teucrium chamaepitys in the rock garden at Kew|
|Delosperma cooperi in a glasshouse at Kew|
(I like to have the last say!)...