Saturday, March 26, 2016

California Dreamin' (the Ultimate Succulent nursery)

I have been very lucky over the last few years (thanks in large part to Woody Minnich--Cactus guru extraordinaire) to gain access and befriend many of the great nurseries of Southern California. I first met Peter Walkowiak and Inacia Matteus several years ago when I spoke to the San Diego chapter of the Cactus and Succulent Society: I was charmed by the hilltop setting of their home and nursery--and blown away by the plants in their collections and the superb plants Peter propagates to sell. The light was perfect for photography during my last stay at their home at the end of February and I took many pictures, most of which are below (and which are largely self-explanatory). They are mostly of Peter's vast collection of superbly grown and exhibited plants: I don't think there's a public garden in America that has better collections of both cacti and other succulents--grown to such large sizes and looking so healthy. Do linger a bit over these and realize that each of these thousands of plants has a history--botanical and personal...

The Ariocarpus were to die for!

I'm not going to even try to name names: a few faves may pop out now and again. If you're desperate to know--just go to any of the dozens of shows staged throughout the US by CSSA groups: they're all superb. And Peter exhibits in many (as well as having his garden and nursery on tour regularly)...

Mounds this size do not grow overnight...

I was especially pleased to see this terrific mounded Echinocereus trig. 'Inermis' which is endemic to Western Colorado (and perhaps a short ways into Utah)...

Just one small part of the production area: Peter only grows what others don't. They're all the best....

Aloinopsis malherbei

I love this picture with both of them absorbed, and the blooming euphorbs!

One of the seedframes brimming with new treasures!

A whopper of Sinningia leucotricha

With a smart phone for scale

Avonia quinaria subs. alstonii
I still want to call these Anacampseros. Not only are they great specimens, but the pots they're in are perfect.

You didn't see this one!

The euphorbias are out of this world,

One of the biggest Geraniaceae ever! And I'm not talking about Inacia!

I never dreamed the Medusoid euphorbias could be so variable before meeting Peter.

Wrong setting to catch the hummingbird

Peter putting plants back from after a meeting of the Palomar club
In addition to being the ultimate connoisseurs of growing, showing succulents, Peter and Inacia are deeply involved in their communities: Peter has been a leader in two of the largest Cactus clubs in the very epicenter of the art of growing these. He has volunteered at the San Diego Zoo's amazing Safari Park (I think their botanical exhibits are more interesting than the animals!). And he is a designer who's worked with many local gardeners creating exquisite gardens. Inacia loves the succulents and has her own collection, and has many other interests including being self described "Diva" of the local running clubs. I feel privileged to call these two my friends.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Before the snow: mid-March bloom in Denver

Draba hispanica on Quince St.
It's the draba time of year: this Spanish draba is by far the most rambunctious--self sowing everywhere. Some years the first flowers open in January--but it looks like all through February, March and even into April!
Draba hispanica in the Children's Garden, DBG

And here is an individual trucked into a crevice at DBG.

Draba brunifolia ex Toros Dag at Quince
Later, and much tighter, this Turkish cushion has been very long lived. It won't be in full bloom for a while (with our two feet of snow today...)
Ranunculus calandinioides at Quince St.
A single miserable flower--but more leaves than last year. I fed it a bit: maybe two flowers next year?

Daphne mezereum 'Album' at Quince

The Winter daphne has been blooming over a month--the flowers keep getting nipped. But it is a bit thicker in growth this year. I think it will be a wonderful mature specimen.

Tulipa turkestanica
They were so cheap in November I bought too many, and planted them way too thick. But they made a better first year display that way. I'm savoring how they will look when they clump up!

Ornithogalum sp. dwf
I stupidly lost the name on this: I believe it's from Jane McGary--a very early Star of Bethelehem. I must email her!
Anemone blanda and Corydalis makensis
On Facebook I threatened to copywrite this combo and charge people for using it! I think some of my FB friends believed me...

Anemone blanda
A closer look at the "Grecian Windflower"--the only other way I hear Grecian used is with a Formula for men with a "Ptolomy complex" (Men in "De Nile")...

Scilla siberica 'Alba'
A nice colony at Denver Botanic Gardens...

Narcissus romieuxii 'Julia Jane Seedling'
I have finally found some places these seem to persist: I love the hoop petticoats!

Sesleria or Alopecurus sp.
I have not locked this down yet: it's at DBG's Perennial Border (but not on the Navigator). Drats!

Viola corsica
A viola everyone should have: as spectacular as the alpine pansies, but much easier to grow. From Corsica obviously...

I stepped back to show part of the colony--there are three other complementary beds near here, each with their own Viola corsica mats.
Townsendia hookeri
In one of the mothballed troughs at work..

Thlaspi montanum
And another...

Seedling of Viola x wittrockiana
I love to watch pansies self sow...

Bergenia stracheyi 'Alba'
A really delightful Bergenia: I saw acres of the species in the Pakistan Himalaya--but never this pure white form from cultivation in England!

Pictures of Magnolias at Denver Botanic Gardens taken a week ago: they were frosted before the weekend, alas!

Corydalis cheilanthifolia
At the DBG Waring house--a wonderful stand of this striking corydalid...

Colchicum szovitsii
I have two plants labeled this--one quite different from the other. I saw a picture once where this carpted the ground in the Caucasus.

Cyclamen coum has finally made itself at home and is even seeding about. It's been in bloom for over a month.

The daffodil display on the "wedges" of the Botanic Gardens parking structure have been terrific this yhear through several snow storms! We'll see how they recover from this heavy one today...

Cornus mas
Cornelian cherry blooms about the same time as forsythias, but is less apt to be frozen with our inevitable late frosts. I need one!
Cornus mas
The specimens in the Fragrance Garden at DBG are stunningly beautiful right now...

The gardener (Jennifer Miller) is busy cutting back grasses in this grass garden: the little bluestem and Mexican hair grass are still holding up!

Townsendia leptotes 'Jeanie' from the Lemhi mt. area of Idaho
First given to me by Jeanie Anderson of Idaho Falls, this delectable miniature has entered the rock garden trade around the world. I'm responsible for the cultivar name...

A new bed in the Rock Alpine Garden featuring the variegated statice: Bukiniczia cabulica.

Pulsatilla vulgaris and Potentilla nevadensis (or cinerea?)
Another winning combo....

A distinctive Eranthis in the Rock Alpine Garden..x tubergeniana .'Guinea Gold' perhaps?

I'm glad to see that Crocus fleischeri is persisting: there was quite a bit of it in this bed once..

Lomatium grayi
A plant rescued from a small rock garden near the Morrison Center by Mike Kintgen: I'm glad he saved it!

A fresh planting of a Narcissus cyclamineus hybrid near the Bonsai pavilion. 'Mite' perhaps?

Some great plantings of Tulipa kaufmanniana in the Childrens Garden

Tulipa kaufmanniana

Tulipa kaufmanniana

Pulsatilla patens in the Children's garden

Pulsatilla patens

Pulsatilla patens

Phlox kelseyi 'Lemhi Purple' and Sedum 'Angelina' in the Children's Garden crevice garden

A very congested (and I just noticed upside down) Erigeron compositus in the Children's garden.

Puschkinia libanotica

Narcissus x cyclamineus 'Jetfire' (?)
This is an experiment: I photographed one of the best stands of narcissi we grow (in the Childrens Garden) backlit when the sun was out..and below facing the blooms when a cloud came over. This is a contest: which of these looks better?

Narcissus x cyclamineus 'Jetfire' (?)

Narcissus x cyclamineus 'Jetfire' (?)

And another little colony across the way...

Pulsatilla vulgaris
We saw the winsome pale native earlier: the European species is more robust. It actually became a bit of a weed for me once in the Rock Alpine Garden: I actually had a mandate given to me to remove them there! I removed a lot!

A fine soft russet form in the Childrens Garden...

Although I think it's hard to beat the "common" form...

Somehow this magnolia made it through the horrendous snow last Friday night when temperatures dropped to below 20F: picture taken yesterday...will it make it through this "Snowmageddon"?

Ornithogalum balansae
I was charmed by this tiny star of Bethlehem: I must find a source for my garden!

Ornithogalum balansae

Crocus vernus
A really fine planting of this common white Dutch "fatty"Eri as Reginald called them...

Schizachyrium scoparium
A particularly brilliant bright russet Little Bluestem...

Iris reticulata 'Harmony'
Iris reticulata love Colorado under ordinary garden conditions.This one is especially vigorous...

Iris reticulata 'Harmony'

Iris reticulata 'Harmony'

Iris reticulata 'J.S. Dijt'
I have repeated divided this one--which is gradually filling up "Jesse's Border" as we call it.  They divided quite easily right after the flowers whither.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              

Iris reticulata 'Clairette'
Another colony at the other end of his border.
Iris reticulata 'Clairette'

Iris reticulata 'Katharine Hodgkin'
I thought I'd lost mine--and they were weakened by the wretched 2013 April cold snap, but many came back this year. The ones at DBG came back the next year--and are spectacular in early March...

Coluteocarpus vesicarius
From the Turkish steppe, this crucifer loves the north facing crevice garden at the Childrens Garden.

Erigeron compositus ('Red Desert' or 'Mt. Adams')
There are two very similar fleabanes--not sure which one is so brilliantly showcased in the Childrens garden.

Crocus tomasinianus 'Whitewell Purple' (or is it 'Ruby Giant"?)

One of my favorite plants in the Childrens Garden is Phlox grayi, which makes wide mats and blooms for months (already started mid March!)

More views of the Morrison Center

Closer view of Phlox kelseyi 'Lemhi Purple', 'Angelina' and lots more: the fleabane is yet another form of Erigeron compositus.

Can't quite figure out which species of bird has been perched the last few days on the mullens next door. I wish I knew: any guesses? I'll give you credit...
Helleborus x ballardiae in my home garden bulding steam..

Colchicum hungaricum
A particularly luscious winter blooming Colchicumll

Corydalis solida 'Dieter Schacht' on left, and a self sown seedling (cross with 'George Baker') on right.

Corydalis solida 'Beth Evans'

A particularly charming race..well worth the extra dollars to order!

Helleborus x hybridus (Yellow seedling)

another one!

Crocus tomasinianus 'Whitewell Purple'--that's Cheilanthes fendleri behind.

Narcissus nanus
Seeral views of a particularly tiny trumpet daffodil....
Narcissus nanus

Narcissus nanus

Central Asian almond (Prunus dulcis)
The last few years our miniature Central Asian almond didn't bloom. With late frosts this ear I am very worried about it.

Prunus dulcis

Prunus dulcis

Prunus dulcis
This picture above and the one below look so different! I will be very curious of any flowers made through this "Snowmageddon'. Having lived here most of my life, I know these chinooks coax plants out too early.  Let's hope we can iron things out so that we don't have yet another year without fruits.

Shot from the same spot as the last picture 26 hours later! a large branch of the almond broke in the wet snow.

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