Showing posts from April, 2014

Breathless time to talk!

A fraction of the goodies starting to bloom everywhere: yikes! Turning out to be an awesome mid-to late spring: everything blooming at once! Lasting for every in the coolth! Skirting hard frost night after night--eeek! Love it. Plant Sales every few days, and the nurseries are hopping: I fill wheelbarrowloads of weeds every night--desperate to get my garden ins shape for less than a

Three irises of the Altai

Among humans we call them "celebrities"--the phenotype of the species which attracts enormous attention and love. In plants they're must "favorites"--plants like Ladyslipper orchids, or snowdrops in England in winter. Plants that command a lot more passion than the pedestrian posy, which peoplel fly across oceans to visit in the wild or in gardens, which dazzle and delight. For me, wild irises do the trick: I dote on every member of the genus I have grown, and most of the hybrids. I was fortunate a few years ago to find two irises I'd seen Iris ruthenica in Western China (of all places).
Here's a closer view. I shall never forget the magical day high in the Altai of Kazakhstan: we stopped the vehicle frequently, and took long walks. It was overcase and occasionally misty, and the flowers were in masses everywhere. At first we only found a few clumps of the tiny iris...

But in the subalpine forest, they grew thickly as a lawn--miles and miles of them, …

Easter daisies (a few days later)...

This is the peak season for easter daisies--which are aptly named: they bloom for such a long spell (beginning in March almost every year and lasting to May) that they can be pretty much be guaranteed to bloom at easter. The specimen above is an exception: I believe that was photographed in late summer (it's naturally a later bloomer, especially in its alpine home), but most of the rest of these were photographed this week at my home garden.
There is a long complicated story involving this plant. Suffice it to say (mea culpa) this was distributed as T. spathulata decades ago when Gwen Moore and I ran Rocky Mountain Rare Seeds: that species and T. nuttallii were both recorded from Limestone Mountain in the Wind River Mountains where we collected what we thought were both. We assumed this distinctive one was spathulata, and a narrow leaves congener there was nuttallii: the third species I now realize was Townsendia hookeri: there were three townsendias on this mountain I reckon. So…

A week in the life of a peripatetic gardener (Toronto sojourn...)

I took the picture of the iris the day before I left for Toronto. Gotta love those Junos--this one from Beaver Creek nursery many years ago.

The Japanese cherries around town bloomed most of last week--good thing because the snow and frost on Sunday night put an end to the show. Someone has planted many Japanese cherries along Cherry Creek (and Speer Boulevard) which is rather amusing, since the "Cherry" in Cherry Creek is actually a Chokecherry. This is the most stunning Japanese cherry I know in Denver, at an apartment complex near my home. I dote on this every year..

The flowers up close are immense, and a wonderful melting pink color. I would love to see a lot more of these around town!

This was blooming as well before I left, and came through the snow (under a bucket of course): it's a collection from Morocco by Mike Kintgen. Surely the earliest Peony in any garden?

I'd not seen Marion in 11 years (since she had the misfortune to be in Denver for the colossal M…