Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Autumn's last blossoms

Delosperma "Son of Kelaidis"
 A seedling of my namesake that was grown by Alan Tower in Spokane, Washington...it was tested for Plant Select and struck the committee as too close to Mesa Verde TM (aka 'Kelaidis')--although I have to say it seems to me to be quite a bit more orange in color--in my garden.

Aloe aristata
That's the same delo above--below is the form of Aloe aristata derived from my Semonkong, Lesotho, collection that made it through winter at Timberline gardens a few years ago in a rather exposed spot. Here it is tucked under a rock...check back in April and I'll tell you how it fared!
Delospermna 'Tiffendell'
 The delospermas are fabulous year around--and seem to bloom at all but the coldest seasons: this cultivar is one of the best--positively SMOTHERS with flowers in spring...but I like them sparse like this too...An Eastern Cape collection--I think by Dan Johnson.

Delospermna 'Tiffendell' close up
 Closeup of same. Hard to believe a few decades ago there wasn't a single species in the genus in cultivation outside a botanic garden or two in Europe and America!

Delosperma lavisiae
I guess they sort of overdo the Magenta thing. We can't all be perfect you know!

Delosperma floribundumn
 I finally have this growing in a few spots. Since I did collect the seed in 1994 at Springfontein, Orange Free State, that's only proper!

Delphinium pylzowii backlit
 This close ally of Delphinium grandiflorum has become a minor--and very pretty--pest in my rock garden, germinating seedlings in the midst of draba and saxifrage clumps where I have to mangle the cushion to remove them. These two shots were taken a few hours apart of the same plant from different vantage points: which do you prefer?
Delphinium pylzowii front lit (same plant as above)
 That color amazes me! And there have been plants of this blooming since May! (that's six months!). It's a winner...love the contrast with the neighbor's silver maple and Cotoneaster divaricatus--which we will visit closer in a minute.

Colchicum boissieri
 I think these have been blooming for over a month: I love the tiny colchicums--most of which bloom in the spring for me.

Ilex verticillata
 Almost a cliché in the East, you hardly ever see this wonderful deciduous holly in Colorado: I have this girl and a boy tucked somewhere nearby (they must have frantic sex when I'm not looking)...

 Beesia deltoidea
The flowers are almost a distraction--Dan HInkley's best herbaceous introduction. Hard to believe this is a CRUCIFER!
Daphne cneorum 'Eximia'
 Most of my pictures are from my home garden, but had to include this daphne at the Gardens' parking structure that smells the whole place up wonderfully (and confusingly--it smells so much of springtime to my brain). I wonder if these will always bloom so heavily in the fall...

Daphne cneorum 'Eximia'
 It's quite a massive colony: notice the Agave parryi in the back? Southwestern Agave + Eurasian Daphne= Colorado Horticulture? Well...yes--we are a blend of Madrean and Holarctic floras!

Geranium fremontii
 I photographed this last Saturday at Cherokee Ranch--an exquisite private foundation of over 3000 acres where I lead 5 field trips a year. Every field trip unearths some new treasure, like this.

Acer tataricum 'Hot Wings'
Growing at my girlfriend, Jan Fahs', hell strip where it gets NO water. What an awesome plant. Gary Epstein and Scott Skogerboe of Fort Collins Nursery introduced this through Plant Select a few years ago--hands down the finest small maple for most gardens (even in mild climates) since the stunning scarlet samaras look like flowers all summer and then THIS!
Campanula x stansfieldii
 I love campanulas, and a few keep on chugging like this one!

Salvia darcyi
 Slightly out of focus: I apologize (I have oodles of crisp pix, but this was taken this past weekend--we're doing cinema veritas)...what a color! And this came through last winter and springs brutal cold...
Salvia x 'Schoolhouse red'
 This hybrid with the latter occurred spontaneously at Kelly's nursery (Timberline): the original seedling is still there after a decade--the other parent is Salvia microphylla ssp. wislezinii. I believe this will be Plant Select in 2015: hope so anyway. It's a magnificent plant and very hardy. STILL blooming after months and months...

Salvia microphylla 'Hot Lips'
 Why this exotic plant from Southern Mexico is so hardy I will never know: but it is: my plant must be five feet across and nearly as tall. I know of no other plants in Denver--except a few at the Gardens that were cuttings from this one. I know Kelly sells tons--but where do they go?

Phlox paniculata and Amsonia illustris
 The flowers on the phlox are fried--but hey! It's November in three days! I love the tepid pink agains the golden Amsonia foliage....

Asparagus and Amsonia
 Same plants from further away--an Acer ginnala glowering in the distance. I shall have to cut back this jungle in midwinter to make way for a sea of tiny bulbs next spring there...

Sphaeralcea incana cv.
 This appeared in one of the soil bins at the Gardens: I tried to make someone at DBG dig it up and plant it in a garden, but none of my colleagues liked it enough. I LOVE those pale pink flowers! And now it's all MINE MINE MINE! (They will probably come beg cuttings one day once I have this flourishing and making a vast mound of pale pink loveliness! Braaaw ha HA!

Sphaeralcea incana cv.
Is that not delicious? Since I've already had a baby pink Delosperma named after me, I'll forego the name on this one...

Othonna capensis
 Harlan Hamernik got this from me ages (decades?) ago and Bluebird has offered it ever since. The only place I ever see it is in my garden. I love this little morsel that blooms for seven months (or more) and is so dainty. I lost my ancient mound last winter (probably in the April calamity)--but I replanted it in the same spot. Better not have another calamity very soon!

Othonna capensis
 Closeup of same...

Crocus speciosus
 I must have a hundred images of Crocus speciosus. Never enough! Those stigmata!
Crocus serotinus?
 Lost my name on this one...any takers?

Flowering Kale
 These were planted late, neglected but thanks to abundant natural rain, they came through in style...I fear I may be planting these deliberately henceforward I enjoy their colors and textures so much...

Opuntia cycloides
 One of my larger Opuntias from the Big Bend of Texas. This went through the last brutal winter with style.

Escobaria vivipara
 Seedpods can be as charming as any flower...

Cotoneaster divaricatus in neighbor's garden
 I'm so glad my neighbor is growing this monstrous shrub so I can enjoy it through the backlight this time of year. That way I don't HAVE to grow it (and it's a bit too rangy for my taste)..That's the true Daphne caucasica in my garden in the dark foreground.

Erodium cf. petraeum
 My garden is getting overrun by Erodium--and it's a good thing. I keep finding new ones I can't live without, and now they're all self sowing like mad., Dense, evergreen filigree foliage on many that's attractive in its own right, then flowers all year long (although the main April -June display is especially brilliant). These deserve much more in the way of attention!

Erodium absinthoides ssp. amanum

My camera refuses to focus on this psychedelic one: if we can work out the micropropagation (probably through Tissue Culture). This blooms all the time, but the spring display is beyond psychedelic.

Saccharum ravennae
I am so delighted that this is related to Sugarcane, I adopted the new name right away. This is a self sown seedling in my back yard I kept forgetting to move. Now I need a back hoe!

That's it! And so the season gradually dies down which is a good thing. Now I can label my images and get them filed, help finish writing an important book, travel and speak at trade shows and actually read some real books (I've spent three weeks plowing through one page turner)...I love these "later flowers for the bees/ That think warm days will never cease/ For summer hath o'er brimmed their clammy cells" (Keats, Autumn).


  1. A glorious autumn! what stunning colors of Amsonia and Cotoneaster... that's a good neighbor!
    These Salvias, looks really beautiful ... their colors dazzles! I love their resistence and always a good claim to bees.

  2. Gracias, Yolanda, por sus amables comentarios. Salvia es uno de mis géneros favoritos también - usted es afortunada que algunas especies preciosas crecen silvestres en España. Espero que disfuten un largo suave otoño también.

  3. A great Autumn colour.

    I have tried various Delosperma in my dry bed several times, and frustratingly it has never got through. I am determined to get at least one clump to grown when the new beds get built.

    1. I have tried to grow them for years and they usually make it only for one or two years here (Western Colorado) Frustrating!

    2. I tried plain old, bone hardy D. nubigenum in a very dry part of my already dry (in summer, anyway) garden in the Southern Interior of British Columbia. It declined for about three years and was gone. I think they actually prefer a richer soil than I gave 'em. At my other house in Vancouver, they get rained on to the tune of 1300mm per year (albeit about 5 USDA zones warmer) in beds with rich topsoil. Never a problem with the moisture

    3. Delospermas require summer irrigation in Denver to grow. Our winters get quite a bit of snow--which suits them fine (winter irrigationis unnecessary). Delosperma cooperi can occasionally survive with minimal supplemental irrigation--but the rest like the occasional deep watering--especially during droughts: these are not cacti.

  4. Hi Panayoti, Some of my plants with the best fall color are heaths. I think it would be hard to beat Vaccinium corymbosum for fall color brilliance. I keep hoping you are going to show us a big patch of Arctostaphylos uva-ursi in autumn glory. Do you not have this wonderful Colorado native?

  5. I am not growing kinnikinick right now: we grow the slightly larger manzanitas because they keep weeds down better (A. x coloradoensis). There are some lovely uva-ursi in town though--but they stay pretty green this time of year. Do they color for you?

  6. Hi Panayoti, I do not have Arctostaphylos because I know it would not tolerate my limey soil. I have to grow my acid loving plants in pots. The place I saw Arctostaphylos in brilliant fall color was Denali National Park. The foothills of Denali NP in August could easily match the maples of Vermont. These Arctostaphylos were likely A. alpina instead of A. uva- ursi. I wonder if this excellent fall color could be bred into manzanitas through hybridization? This might be a worthwhile project for western plant breeders.

  7. The two spectacular deciduous kinnikinicks of Alaska and the north (although one does sneak down to northernmost Wyoming) are often now called Arctous rather than Arctostaphylos---they are not very closely related to our plants. It would be a stretch to cross them: Arctous rubra and A. alpina are glorious, I agree, but hate heat like Meconopsis do. Our local Arctostaphylos uva-ursi is very lime tolerant: manzanitas here grow in extremely alkaline soils in nature and in the garden: you should try one some of the Plant Select clones ("Mock Bearberry", "Chieftan" etc.)...they're awesome groundcovers.

    1. I am surprised Arctostaphylos uva-ursi is lime tolerant in your area. I recall you mentioning this to me before. Everywhere I have seen A. uva-ursi in the wild it grows on nearly pure sand under or near pines. In the east these are typically pitch pines (Pinus rigida) and in the Indiana dunes they are Jack Pines (Pinus banksiana).

  8. Panayoti - Thanks for the fantastic lineup of fall bloomers! We are definitely having an very nice fall for a change. Cherokee Ranch is a great spot for plants and birds - I love to watch both... Will have to get out there again for your tours with Lynne. To enlighten the ignorant could you explain the term "CRUCIFIER".

  9. Thanks, Mark! We had an awesome tour a week ago: perfect weather--not even a breath of a breeze--and a flock of about 40 turkeys as well as good fall color lots to see. Join us in December! Crucifer is a vernacular term for plants in the Cress family (now called Brassicaceae, but once called Cruciferae--hence the short term). The cress family plants rarely have such lustrous, heart shaped leaves--which look just like a wild ginger, in the much more primitive looking Dutchman's Pipe family (Aristolochaceae)...I tend to bandy about these botanical terms, I'm afraid...


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