MORE Danger! Spikethrift alert!
You may not be overly impressed with this on first glance--acantholimons (like cacti) you get "stuck" on over time. They start off innocently enough, like little tufts of dianthus...and grow and grow. Many people think they're just prickly dianthus until you point out the papery texture of the flower, and they see the resemblance to other thrifts. I have called them spikethrifts as a common name--which doesn't seem to have caught on. Or how about "prickly thrift". Of course, most people aren't aware that thrift is a common name for Armeria, ("sea thrift" which grows wild at 13,000' in Colorado!)--and these are very much like very prickly armeria. You may or may not have noticed that I adopted the generic name of spikethrifts as my avatar. That's how much I like them!
This may not impress you much, but it is much more loveable in person (or should I say "in leaf") I obtained seed of this through Index Seminum from a botanic garden in the former Soviet Union and have grown it ever since. Like glumaceum, this tolerates more water (those are alpine gentians and drabas it's growing with). This plant gets bigger and bigger with time, and the silvery lavender flowers are very fetching. It can also take it dry.
|Acantholimon hohenakeri (back) Acantholimon gloumaceum (front)|
This is my old front yard on Eudora, where these persist and have persisted for decades (and shall probably persist for some time to come) since they thrive in Colorado with no care. I miss them terribly (my new garden doesn't grow them nearly as well).
Here is one I CAN grow, that must presumably come from Western Turkey, near the ancient Illium. It must be very close to Acantholimon ulicinum. Which is a synonym of Acantholimon androsaceum, which grows on the crags around the village where my paternal grandfather was born (the ancestral homeland of those bearing my surname, as a matter of fact in the Sfakia). I have sadly never been there, although I hope to go there in fifteen months--when this should, in fact, be blooming. If you are a real rock gardener, click on this link and you will be wafted to the heights of Crete and see what I mean..and why I love these so.
|Acantholimon bracteatum var. capitatum|
Here is the wonderful capitate headed species that comes from northeastern Turkey--gracing my garden now.
|Acantholimon spp. at Dare Bohlander's house|
|Acantholimon ulicinum at University of Wurzburg Botanic Garden|
I am just a tad annoyed that the most magnificent display of acantholimons in cultivation today is at a botanic garden in the heart of Germany. Frankly, it's just plain WRONG that they grow these so wonderfully well (not to mention acres and acres of other treasures--one more rare and wonderful than the rest.) Some day I shall have to do a series of blogs on my magical visit to Wurzburg last May: their alpine collections--like those at Gothenburg, Kew, Edinburgh (and a handful of Central European botanic gardens I shan't list now) are really to die for.
Perhaps Larry Vickerman--who with the help of Lauren and Scott Ogden as designers, and with the magical touch of Emilee Vanderneut as gardener have created the most stunning Prairie gardens around the Chatfield Visitor's center...perhaps Larry, with a lot of help from Dan Johnson and the amazing team at York Street (and a few more gardeners to help Emilee as long as I'm dreaming), can design an awesome Steppe Garden to outshine Wurzburg at our gorgeous and wonderful site at Chatfield...these are the sort of daydreams that keep me chugging away....