Saturday, June 20, 2015

A botanist's garden

Dr. Robert Faden, left, Dr. Anton Reznicek
 I am always surprised that some botanists don't seem to garden at all. I have read that when Asa Gray was shown Dicentra eximia in a garden once (a plant he collected and named), he said he couldn't recognize it unless it was pressed on an herbarium page! Dr. Faden, retired from the Smithsonian, and Dr. Reznicek--still very active at the Herbarium of the University of Michigan--are engaging in animated conversation. I wish I had recorded it! These two are not only great botanists, but extraordinarily good gardeners too! Some day, perhaps, we can revisit the Faden extravaganza in Virginia, but now we will rewind to Mother's day, when I attended the North American Rock Garden Society's annual meeting in Michigan, which was organized in large part by Tony and his wife Susan. It was one of the best meetings I've attended of any group, and a highlight was visiting the Reznicek garden--which is both beautiful and a living, breathing herbarium of the best plants imaginable! You shall see quite a few of these, because I lack restraint! And the pics turned out pretty good if I don't say so myself. I'd revisit this post in a week or two: Tony will no doubt correct my many mis-identifications (I shall note his corrections in RED)...So you shall see what a mediocre botanist I am by comparison!

Here's part of the NARGS rabble
 You can see what a steep hillside climbs above the two houses the Reznicek's own and garden upon. You'll be seeing more of the crevice garden at the end...

Cardamine heptaphylla?
My first test: there are a wealth of white Lady's smocks (or are they cuckoopints?)--an early cress that graces woodlands across the Northern Hemisphere. There are a number of white ones--I'm guessing wildly here...

Here you can see it artfully naturalizing along with the wonderful native Celandine poppy (Stylophorum diphyllum) a plant I love and seem currently not to have in my garden.

A wonderful wall where many gesneriads have been tucked in, and ferns are spreading by spore. this is what great gardening looks like!

Cardamine macrophylla?
What collector in their right mind would be content with a single species of a good genus? So there has to be a pink Lady's smock as well...

Weigela subsessilis 'Canary'
Each of the Michigan gardens I visited had a fabulous specimen of this yellow honeysuckle cousin (now in the Adoxaceae, believe it or not!). Thank you, Brigitta, for getting me the name (and three husky specimens to boot!).

Another plant of it around the corner...

I have never seen more wonderful daphnes than in Michigan. This is a form of x hendersonii, I believe..

Iris henryi
The foliage on my I. henryi had winter damage--obviously protected more here...

Dodecatheon meadia

Corydalis sp.
Tony complained this corydalis was terribly weedy--

Corydalis incisa can be a bit "rambunctious: gh must have had resistance pulling it out!

Many epimediums were coming into bloom...

And this dainty white violet

I am envious of Cinnamon fern--since my garden lacks a moist enough spot to grow it well...

Paracaryum raemosum
An unusual Asiatic borage one rarely sees in gardens...
Iris lacustris 'Alba'
As if the blue form weren't rare enouh....

And the blue form: the avatar of this conference!

An amazing stone with ferns producing sporelings all over it...and lots of gesneriads!

A closer view

More of our native Celandine poppy (Stylophorum diphyllum)

I love ferns when the croziers are emerging--in this case a choice Polystichum.

A wonderful slope carpeted with woodland gems...

The contrast of Jeffersonia diphylla leaves and Pachysandra procumbens is marvellous!

Trillium erectum 'Album' I suspect

Mertensia virginica

Fothergilla gardenii

Lots of interesting graminoids...Tony's specialty

He'll know what this one is...

Corydalis nobilis in full glory

Epimedium grandiflorum in many forms...

Pteridophyllum racemosum
The strangest member of the poppy family!

Lots of odd won't see THESE at Wallmart.

Lunaria rediviva
The perennial money plant--something we could all use!

Who doesn't know or covet this?

Mukdenia rossii and the great Trillium blooming together...

I should know this!

Ranzania japonica and Beesia

Another shot of Beesia: looks so much like a ginger!

Glorious sessile Trillium (help!)

The lushest clump of Prosartes lanuginosa I've ever seen (used to be Disporum)

I know I should know this woodlander: Tony! help!

Very happy clump of Caltha palustris by the bog...

Darmera peltata and Stylophorum--a great combo

Great woodland textures...

Trillium recurvatum (below) and T. luteum above

Trillium luteum

Escobaria leei
I was more than a little suprised to see this rare New Mexican cactus (from the Chihuahuan desert) growing contentedly--albeit in a protected microclimate...

More wonderful epimediums..

Rhododendron ?dauricum
or possibly a form of mucronulatum?

Even more rhodies...

Two very cold winters have not been to the taste of palm trees--but they appear to be alive!

I remember this smelled good...

The classic Epimedium x sulphureum

Allium zebdanense

A seemingly restrained white violet..

Maianthemum (Smilacina) stellatum in a congested form

A handsome aucuba, although I recall Tony said he did protect it some...

This is trillium country--and I believe recurvatum, grandiflorum and luteum all grow not far away in nature

Daphne genkwa: had to include it although it's out of focus!

A handsome mass of Camassia leichtlinii

Iris koreana

I was impressed with that Trillium recurvatum as you can tell...

The crevice garden

The crevice garden 2

Daphnes love the crevice garden

I believe that's Artemisia assoana in the middle.

Iris humilis (or arenaria or flavissima--depending on your reference)

Aquilegia canadensis

A splendid Thalictrum. Not sure which species...

An unusual member of the mint family

Pitcher plant bog with Helonias bullata

Arabis bryoides

Epimedium sp.

Primula kisoana f. alba

You never know who's coming around the corner: Harvey Wrightman!

A lovely stand of bog bean (Menyanthes trifoliata)

Paeonia aff japonica

Hydrangea petiolaris clinging to a wall...

Orontium (not so) aquaticum
I believe I heard Tony saying this was a form that didn't grow in water!

I was surprised that Acis nicaensis was a reliable garden plant here...

Yet another Stylophorum: they love it here!

Tony, a spellbinding speaker!

Back to the crevice garden

Corydalis bracteata


  1. The "Weedy Corydalis" is Corydalis incisa, it can be a bit overwhelming. LOL
    And the "Yellow Lonicera" is actually a Weigela, yes there are several yellow Weigela and this is Weigela subsessilis 'Canary'. It is one of the hardiest Weigelas i know and just sailed through our last two winters from hell with no damage whatsoever and flowered heavily in early spring.


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