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Showing posts from November, 2016

Tongue fern: what's in a picture?

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I first obtained this fern not long before this picture was taken: a gift of Harlan Hamernik, co-founder of Bluebird Nursery in Clarkson, Nebraska who collected it in inner Mongolia. We didn't know at first what species it was--in fact I only determined it recently:  Pyrrosia petiolosa (click on the name--there's a description in the Flora of China for you) has accrued quite a vast literature due to its use as an herb. If you google the name you'll see plenty of papers on the flavinoids and chemicals that make this plant so useful to Chinese Medicine. I suspect the little rhizome Harlan teased out and brought home is trivial compared to the metric meters of this plant that have been collected for herbal use!

 This has been one of the pride and joys of my rock garden--although 99 out of 100 visitors probably don't notice it. Tony Avent did--and asked for a piece (I have yet to provide)--or even spore, which I keep forgetting to gather: I will do so this year for sure…

The Chihuly effect--this time in Atlanta!

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Just in case you've been hiding under a rock for the last generation or so, I thought I should inform you that Dale Chihuly has performed a remarkable feat of not only creating astonishing, spectacular sculpture, but partnering with dozens of botanic gardens around the world to display his work in different contexts which result in many things. The sculptures often light up dark corners of gardens where they are placed, or they dance wildly with the colors around them. Both the gardens and the sculptures gain somehow in this operation (although naysayers will say nay)...what is undeniable is that every garden graced with Chihuly sculptures experiences a colossal explosion at the box office: numbers of visitors and often members are doubled...and I've been told that the effect continues indefinitely. I doubt we could underestimate the impact Chihuly has had on raising awareness of public horticulture, and the countless millions of dollars in hard cash that have accrued to the …

Christchurch Alpine Garden Society meeting

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 I've traveled to many countries, but New Zealand is a tad different: perhaps because it's so far from anywhere else (except maybe Australia, which is still pretty far: Sydney to Aukland is over 2000km direct!)...things in New Zealand aren't quite like anywhere else. The entire country (103,483 mi²) is a tad smaller than Colorado (104,185 mi²), but possesses such an astonishing range of climates, habitats and dozens of mountain ranges in addition to the famous agricultural production...

I've been to many a plant meeting in my day: cactus clubs in Southern California are especially vibrant and crazy--the San Diego or San Gabriel cactus may have a plant show at most meetings, with lots of plant sales--but the one in Christchurch was JUDGED....and I'm embarrassed to say it me who did it!


A trunkload of treasures from Hamish Brown's  raised beds: I photographed this in his car's "boot" as they say before we drove off to the meeting...


And this is the…

A Raoulia rally. Really!

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(I have taken the liberty of adding Jo Wakelin's comment to the front: "I'm so glad you enjoyed our Mahaka Katia salt pan reserve Panayoti. It is a treasure trove of biodiversity with many uncommon and rare natives, having escaped complete modification. You would love the tiny Convolvulus verecundis, the un-named Craspedia, and the tiny halophyte which lives on the edge of the salt pans, Atriplex buchananii.I'm glad we found you a few last flowers on a Myosotis uniflora cushion!")

 As dirty rotten luck would have it, my camera failed me: it refused to focus properly, and half my pictures were fuzzy (and the others not so crisp as I'd like). Then it rained. And this is when we finally came to the area around Cromwell, in Otago province of New Zealand--the semi-arid plateau which most resembles Denver's climate (though not nearly as hot in summer nor cold in winter)--probably more like the steppe just east of the Columbia River Gorge, perhaps. The lady…