A dazzling day at Kew
|The majestic Victorian Palm House|
|Peonies were blooming gloriously everywhere--this one probably P. rockii--which thrives for us too. Notice an elegant structure in the far upper right? We shall revisit that anon!|
|I think this one was labeled 'P. anomala'--very different from ours.|
|A nice combo of Epimedium and Bergenia|
|Labelled B. ciliata (possibly a hybrid?)|
|I love the combo of Hosta and Ornithogalum (undoubtedly O. umbellata)|
|A Dove Tree (Davidia involucrata)|
|Disporum longistylum (a spectacular plant!)|
|Arisaema "consanguineum" in full bloom in a garden with mostly Vietnamese taxa|
|More great combos in the woodland garden--Prosartes (formerly Disporum( smithii from the Pacific woodlands of North America.|
|A breathtaking cultivar of Paeonia suffruticosa|
|Tony Hall--the grand Guru of Kew's alpines--posing before the Queen of Irises|
I can't begin to imagine what this bed will look like in the next few weeks: that's the fabulous Iris cycloglossa: I'd asked Tony to recreate the pose he had 7 years ago in the same spot when Brian Mathew took the picture below:
|Iris cycloglossa in full glory!|
I would die to see this colony in full bloom. I can't imagine power of the Dianthus-like fragrance!
|Deutzia gracilis 'Nikko'|
|Tom Freeth, Manager of Rock Garden and Alpine House collections|
|The grand old rock garden is full of lovely views|
|Even the non-flowering bits are lovely: probably New Zealand collections?|
T.F.: Yes definitely NZ/Aus in the picture you took! Hakea lissosperma in the middle
|A stunning Rhodiola macrocarpa|
|A spectacular Helianthemum sp. which I forgot to note the name of. The white on the left is Arenaria tetraquetra or something lose.|
|Prunus tomentosa 'Alba Plena'|
|A wonderful mixture of colors here--The red of course is Paeonia tenuifolia and a white thrift. Lots of blue specs in there too: very patriotic!|
Pachyphragma macrophyllum now syn. Thlaspi macrophyllum according to WCSP)
|Iris pallida var. illyrica|
|Gladiolus aff. papilio very early in the season...|
Strange to see a gladiolus so early! This one I usually associate with summer. (T.F.:Gladiolus aff. papilio I know as Gladiolus tristis, but there is a labeling mix up in that area with several glads – it is not one I know from the wild but it is the earliest flowering on the rocks) I realize of course it is G. tristis--Tom caught my mistake so I shall leave it--along with his tactful correction.
|Asphodeline lutea on the left and various other Mediterranean brooms and herbs.|
This one has a few years behind it! A spectacular stand. (T.F.:Erodium sp. – Recorded as Erodium petraeum subsp. crispum (last verified ’71). No record of this name ever existing on the WCSP…accepted is Erodium foetidum, but in our records Erodium cheilanthifolium is listed as synonymous, which is also an accepted species according to WCSP – any ideas?)
The most glorious of hellebores. From the border of Turkey and Syria--not apt to be recollected very soon. Sad that the human political realm lacks the grace of plants! I first saw this on raised beds across from the old Alpine House that have since been replaced by the expanded Jodrell Laboratories. Good to see the plant made the move! (T.F.:WCSP also lists Helleborus vesicarius as an unresolved name – it seems pretty distinct in morphology and distribution to me so am not sure about this one!)
Had to share a second picture!
|Iberis cr sempervirens and a fantastic mass of c/yclamen graecum foliage|
I was amazed to see so much Cyclamen graecum tucked here and there throughout the garden--reputedly a tender one. But then Kew is very mild thanks to the Heat Island Effect: the Thames is not apt to freeze over again as it has on occasion during little ice ages. Thank Heavens our current "president" has forestalled Global Warming during his hopefully very short term, said he sarcastically. (T.F.:Cyclamen graecum grows extremely well for us on the Rocks, really good performer in Autumn)
|Aloe again, and chartreuse Euphorbia cf spinosa|
Wonderful combinations of textures!
|Tanacetum densum v. amani|
|Scilla peruviana and Iris sabina|
I love this little combo! The Scilla is not hardy for us. Looks very hardy here. The Iris is new to me: it is one of the later flowering Pogon irises--and quite distinctive. (T.F.: Iris sabina is a Tony collection – meticulous records attached to it of course: Regional Park of Mount Lucretili, near town of Palombara Sabina, Mt.Zappi (part of Mt.Gennaro).L.C.: Compacted-limestone rocky fell. In turf between rocks in full sun - with Euphorbia spinosa, Coronilla minima, Asphodelus albus, Narcissus poeticus and Dactylorrhiza sambucina, (all in full flower). Very rare dwarf bearded Iris, 15-30cm. tall in flower, dark mauve-purple flowers. Collection made at the insistence of the University of Rome Botany Department and the Regional Park Naturalist-Ranger's Director and donated to Kew for scientific study and cultivation). And another note on the Scilla--(T.F.: The Scilla peruviana is a Richard Wilford collection from Mount Zaghouan in Tunisia, older flower turn pale which is quite unusual and quite a stocky free flowering form. You may know this, but peruviana interestingly was a mistake by Clusius which was retained by Linnaeus – he thought the bulbs were from Peru, but in fact the ship they arrived on was called Peru. Hence why we have a med basin plant with the epithet peruviana!)
|Anthyllis erinacea (or Erinacea pungens)|
I keep coming back to the damn Aloe...
|MORE Cyclamen graecum|
|Homeria sp. (now Gladiolus)|
|The jet set Alpine House!|
(T.F.: Linum arboreum is correct according to my records, although that collection was previously verified as aff. arboreum as the petals are much longer than the dimensions given in Flora Europaea)
|Haberlea rhodopensis and an Ibrris|
Thrilled to see a name on this (and see their source): I've been tracking this plant and trying to identify it: it's had several incorrect names in the trade (chiefly Cotula hispida--which it is not). It doesn't fill me with confidence that the Latin name translates as "deceptive"...(T.F.: Cotula fallax donated to us by Oxford University BG in 1988. Nicholas Hind our Compositae expert verified as hispida in ’89, and Richard Wilford changed the name in 2009.)
The view of the waterfall is truly an amazing tour-de-force in artistic landscape design: a perfect evocation of a mountain scene.
|Astragalus lusitanicus ssp. orientalis|
Another superbly placed specimen--not nearly enough milkvetches in cultivation--especially in rock gardens! (T.F.: Astragalus lusitanicus subsp. orientalis now given as Erophaca baetica subsp. orientalis on International Legume Database although I don’t know on what basis)
|Eriogonum umbellatum ssp. majus|
This stopped me in my tracks: what a superb planting of our native east coast rarity!
t/om casually mentioned this would be moved soon: truth be said, if it reached maturing in that spot the visitors would all be entangled in it like the proverbial lambs whose bones are reputed to litter the ground beneath this largest and grandest of all alpine plants! (T.F.: The Puya that you photographed rotted off shortly after you visited – in fact it may already be dead in your photo! We have just one now but in good health, and more back ups in the nursery).
|Phlox douglasii 'Rosea'|
|Fritillaria affinis middle, Eriogonum umbellatum v. majus in back|
We have hypertufa. Kew has stone.
|Agave montana (left( and A. havardiana left|
A rather peculiar note to end on: perhaps not really an end--I have a lot of pictures of the Alpine House, and lots of pictures of shrub plantings, the enormous and imposing "Broad Borders"--which are really in peak bloom in summer. In the past I have photographed endlessly in the greenhouses as well--no time for that this year.
When I first visited I felt the horticulture at Kew (however wonderful) was step-child to the enormous scope of their scientific endeavors. Decades of draconian budget cuts have made an impact on the science--but ironically charging more for visitors attending (it was a pence in the old days!) has elevated the horticulture there (one has to justify the visitor experience!). I have never seen RBG Kew looking so resplendent and with so many superbly grown plants. They have raised the bar!