Sunday, September 25, 2016

Orgasmic Orotundity: the allure of roundy moundies...

Instead of twin lions with limp wrists, more and more Denver homes seem to be decked with orotund Chrysanthemums this time of year in twin pots by the front door. What is it about a round plant that is so appealing? I remember driving by a house a mile or so from were I live and the two immensely fat owners with trimming the shrubs and herbs in their yard into similarly rounded forms: my camera sitting next to me was itching to be turned on...but the image is bright enough in words that you can summon it easily enough. And even so, I'm so tempted to go out and buy a few roundy moundy chrysanthemums myself...look here how my f colleagues were gawking at that pink giant on a field trip a few years ago...

Sophisticated gardeners may sneer a bit at such commonplaces...but what do they know?

Here two roundies are doing their thing at Kendrick Lake Park: Chrysothamnus is pretty reliable for making a rounded basket of gold every fall--at least for us in sunny, dry Denver.

Here's an even more perfect specimen at the same place. This form of rabbit brush, by the way, is the common wild form around Denver.

I took this picture almost exactly a year ago in Northern Arizona: it should grow wonderfully for us, but I've not managed it yet. Psathyrotes ramosissima if you're curious--a very strange little daisy indeed!

One of innumerable enchanting Acantholimon ulicinum I saw last summer in Greece. Virtually the entire genus of these prickly thrifts makes fantastic cushion plants: I've been in love with them since I obtained my first three species from Siskiyou Rare Plant Nursery in 1980. Since then I've grown dozens of species and seen them in four countries so far (Greece, Turkey, Pakistan, Kazakhstan)...I'd love to see every species in the genus in the wild: since they grow in countries rather hostile to us (Iran, Iraq, Turkmenistan etc.etc. etc. ) I can pretty much guarantee that won't happen! Instead, I photographed every single vouchered specimen of Acantholimon in the Copenhagen University herbarium last small feat.

Wyoming isn't quite Patagonia (where almost everything is pulvinate)--but this is not an uncommon sight there: here these Cryptantha caespitosa are mimicking aliens trying to conquer our world. Not far from Medicine Bow--gun country where the idea of a good time is shooting prairie dogs. I was subjected at the Bozeman airport two days ago to overhearing a very plain looking fellow boasting at length to his family about how that what he does in his spare time is to drive all over Montana and blast the little rodents to smithereens. I have a pretty good hunch I know who he's voting for in November as well. If gun toting aliens do ever land on earth, Karma predicts they shall land in a Red State--and perhaps these yahoos will get a taste of their own medicine...but I digress...(I hope you liked this paragraph: I think it was especially well crafted--with a little moral tucked in neatly).

HEAVENLY mounds of Eriogonum corymbosum are dotting the West by the million right now. I love 'em. This one at Kendrick again...although I have two starting to plump up in my Xeriscape. But not the yellow one, nor the gorgeous pink one I collected and grew for years at my Eudora garden...

It's even beautiful in bud--a picture I took halfway though the summer of the same plant: do click on this URL and scroll halfway down to see some of the best specimens in cultivation at our fabulous Western Slope nursery...

A chubby little Mongolian sedum (Hylotelephium tatarinowii) at Kendrick again (of course--we're a little behind the 8 Ball at Denver Botanic Gardens when it comes to moundy roundies I'm afraid)...

Buit my former colleague and good buddy Dare Bohlander has a whole pasture full of Acntholimons at his charming garden in Littleton...

The ultimate moundy--Arenaria alfacarensis from Southern Spain. I believe there's a pulvinate endemic sandwort on almost every mountain in Southern Spain: I believe when I retire (and I surely must one day) I shall take a month or two and go from one mountain top in Andalucia to another, admiring sandwort after sandwort, and reading Antonia Machado in between (and sipping wine and eating tapas on occasion as well). Life can be very sweet you know.

Here, once again at Kendrick, a whole herd of these little vegetable sheep were flowering a few years ago. They've even survived the little dark age of neglect after Greg left. The garden is starting to get some attention again (not quite enough--but it's hanging in there)...

My buddy Jim Tolstrup (the amazing fellow who's responsible for the fantastic new garden in Loveland I feautred a few blogs ago--the one with the miraculous Tulip Gentians) took this at the Pawnee Buttes on his I-Phone and said I could use it. Arenaria hookeri--our best vegetable basketball. And how can I better this last glimpse of our most glorious moundy roundy?


  1. I love your description of them as "moundy roundy". I love them espeically the very slow growing hard plants.

  2. The possibility is increasing every day that your "yahoo" friend might get the person he wants for president. I am sure if elected, the said person will continue to act in the same manner as has been occurring throughout the candidate selection process. The result will be a war where your yahoo friend will probably experience what those prairie dogs go through while spreading suffering to people who neither deserved nor wanted it.

  3. Thank you, James! I'm glad that someone actually reads my stuff! I think we share certain political prejudices!


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