Friday, June 23, 2017

Crevice crazy

Has it only been eight months since I last blogged about this garden? Do click on that blog (That Blog) for the backstory: Flash forward (for me this means 3 trips to California, New Zealand, England, Wisconsin, the Czech Republic and who knows what else intervening) feels like a century ago: but the garden has gone from strength to strength. Last Tuesday I was driving Michael Midgley (q.v.: the garden in Tekapo) who was visiting us before joining the NARGS tour to Wyoming, to visit his Denver relatives--who happened to live in Arvada a stone's throw from APEX: of COURSE we had to visit (and if you're clever, you'll catch a glimpse* of this extraordinary Kiwi gardener and sportsman). It's been 90+F for much of the last week, nearing 100: and what impressed me that in this minimally watered garden there were TONS of choice plants in bloom--a few of which I'll share with you here...

Moltkia petraea

I have grown this for ten years: this one can't be more than two or three years old and it's bigger than mine--one of the most dazzling of blue-flowered miniature shrubs.

Pelargonium endlicherianum
My plants (which I dote upon) aren't in bloom yet. Nor are they as husky as this amazing specimen.

You are probably not overly impressed...YET...but that's a shrubby Junellia from Patagonia that's blooming there!  To DIE for!

And a mystery Scabious. Don't know which one...

One of many Acantholimons thriving in this garden...

A wonderful yellow form of Eriogonum ovalifolium: not sure which subspecies...

If you checked the PREVIOUS blog as I tried to coerce you to do--you would have seen this Same  paintbrush blooming eight months earlier: it never quits!

Teucrium cossonii

This stunning germander from the Balearic Isles is occasionally grown in California: it thrives for us as well...a much  underutilized gem that has been sold as T. aroanium: a very different plant!

Townsendia incana in ripe seed!

Heterotheca jonesii draping on a roock

American and Moroccan plants growing cheek by jowl....both quite happy.

A very different subspecies of  E. ovalifolium--perhaps eximium?

This looks very much like Eriogonum kingii...

Phlox nana relegated to a corner where it may ramp to its heart's content.

David Salman's collection of Cotula from the Drakensnberg.

The vistas are charming already: lots of room for more plants, and for plants to spread.As lichens colonize and other microbiota--this garden can only increase in charm. (*Yes, he's in this one!)

Monardella macrantha 'Marion Sampson'

Yes: blooming last fall, featured on the cover of NARGS Quarterly in the interim, and still blooming away!

(* indicates the frame (second to last) where Michael Midgley is lurking in the back--the fellow with the spectacular New Zealand crevice garden in Tekapo: so strange I never knew Michael before last November. Now he's in the West and as I type this he's spent several days with Kenton--and tomorrow they shall be on the Beartooth together (or perhaps the Bighorns?). What fun it would be to drop in on some of the conversations of these crevice garden masters as they traverse the magical mountains of the West....such are the strands that make up this blog, and our lives!)

The busman's Holiday...

Horticulturists have been known to grumble about Landscape Architects: they're so hardscape focused. Heck some don't even learn about plants in school! That certainly doesn't apply to Herb Schaal, whom I've talked about extensively in another post. (Click on the last sentence to find it!). Few horticulturists garden this much or this well at home! I don't grumble because I owe L.A.'s (specifically Herb) my very entrée into professional horticulture: he was Master Planner for Denver Botanic Gardens for a long time in the 1970's and 1980's and oversaw the execution of the EDAW plan that forged our garden--including some amendments that happened to include the Rock Alpine Garden, which he designed and built. And he decided I'd be the one to plant and care for it: we've maintained a tender relationship ever since (further elaborated in the previous blog). Every year or so Jan and I spend an evening with the Schaals at their exquisite home and garden. I take a ton of pictures--and Herb emails me some (perhaps knowing that his architect's eye and camera have a better view!). I've not even bothered to upload mine--his were so lovely--taken about the same season as our yearly visit.

The pictures hardly need my comments--but I will interpose a few: this is Sedum hybridum (sorely underutilized in our area) combining with the combo.

Herb naturalized Cow Parsnip (Heracleum lanatum) which I love, but must be used cautiously: it can produce nasty welts if touched on sunny days.

The vegetable beds and berry beds are exquisitely designed.

Jan would like a patio like this....sigh.

Or this...

I love to see scarecrows dancing! This is a sort of avatar of the garden he uses on signage and it!

No further comment! Needless to say, I share Herb's sentiments on this subject!

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Bighorn beauties and beyond

Calochortus nuttallii in the Bighorns
 This was (in fact) one of the first special flowers we saw last Thursday as we drove up Highway 14-Alternate on the Bighorns. This is probably the 10th or 12th trip I've led to the area--in this case the overflow from the Bighorn/Beartooth/Yellowstone trip that departed today (our "second" trip came a week earlier) for the North American Rock Garden Society that has launched wildly successful flower tours: both tours to the Bighorns last year filled. This year we had to add yet another, and the Dolomite tour was doubled as well! The trip to Northern Michigan at the Annual Meeting two years ago was overbooked, and I have a hunch the trips in the pipeline for next year will do so as well: be advised! Join NARGS and be quick about it!

The lower foothills of the Bighorns are covered with Sagebrush steppe--an acquired taste. Once you've acquired it, you can never have enough--I warn you! (What's that blue stuff in the sagebrush anyway?)...

It's one of the innumerable penstemons found hereabouts--in this case Penstemon subglaber.

Pinus albicaulis
The whitebark pine occurs mostly at high elevation--but there are some lower down: many are succumbing to Blister Rust: very worrisome.

Penstemon laricifolius v. laricifolius
Widespread on Wyoming steppe--one can never have enough of this flashy waif: hundreds of clumps on the roadcuts to Five Springs campground.

Not just pink penstemons...but this: Penstemon aridus

Penstemon aridus
I had a little trough full of a miniature form of this for years--maybe decades. Time to do it again! A specialty of the region.

Pulsatilla patens albino
One of my sharp eyed associates found this albino: I would dearly love to grow this!

Pulsatilla patens
Truth be said, nothing beats the blue form. It's much smaller and bluer than around Denver up here above treeline: maybe it will be easier to grow as well?

Eritrichium elongatum
I know, I know: some lump it with E. nanum: the seed morphology is very different--and most here have little stems. They're every bit as brilliant no matter what their name.

Since this was the snowiest winter in 40 years, we finally found Kelseya in full bloom~

Here are the two same clumps--I had to use a telephoto for the closeups (Jan wouldn't let me get close)...

Another slightly blurry shot from too far away--but the contrast of rose flowers and orange lichens are truly unique!

A little Lesquerella
I know they're now supposed to by Physaria--but the unilocular ones MUST be slightly phylogenetically distinct! I believe this is P. paysonii.

Androsace montana
Tass Kelso told me they'd be merged a decade or more ago: and in her honor I'm fallowing suit (but Douglas did deserve his own genus don't you think?)

Aquilegia jonesii (on the right--as if I had to say that)
The snowdrift looked so large through telephoto lens leading to the locus classicus of this columbine we had to settle for the fewer number on Mediine Wheel.

Penstemon eriantherus
This happened to be photographed near Wapiti, but I know it grows all around the Bighorns..heck, I'll be adding a few other outliers as well (hence the title)..

Ranunculus eschscholtzii and Frasera speciosa rosette emerging through water.
I'm very pleased with this picture: it amazes me now much the Frasera looks like a Protea! These forms are elemental.

Fritillaria pudica and Claytonia lanceolata
This happens to be by the gate towards Clay Butte on the Beartooth, but there ARE Frit. pudica ont he Bighorns too..

Chaenactis douglasii
We saw this everywhere: this one taken near Wapiti.

Penstemon deustus
A rain the day before washed the dusty Deusty clean.

Packera frewmontii
I won't swear it's this species--but looks like it!

Polemonium pulcherrimum
Closeup of one of the best Jacob's Ladders...

It grew in fantastic drifts along the shoreline of Lake Yellowstone: there must have been thousands every few paces...

Wyethia helianthoides
The queen of its genus: we saw a hillside covered with these but couldn't stop. I need this for my garden.

What is Glenn Guetenberg photographing, prithee?
The President of the local North American Rock Garden Society chapter is an avid and talented photographer. As well as a great gardener! Almost as photogenic as the plants thereabouts!
Erythronium grandiflorum
This was what he was taking a picture of...

And a wonderful ochroleucus form of Erigeron compositus. Or is it E. ochroleucus?

Yellowstone falls
Even more dramatic than any painting or photograph. Always a pleasure to re-visit.

Heuchera cylindrica
If you had a really good telephoto lens, you might have seen this coralbells from the OTHER angle--it's growing on the verge of Yellowstone falls!

Erigeron compositus v. discoideus
And nearby the rayless form of cutleaf daisy...

We saw Viola nuttallii everywhere...

And this Antennaria in the parkinglot of Artist's Overlook. Not sure which one...

Opuntia polyacantha with Absoroka Mountains in background...
I can't begin to express my gratitude to the North American Rock Garden Society for sponsoring these amazing trips: these are just a few glimmerings of six magical days with a wonderful cast of characters and the superb Retreat Center that hosted us in royal style!

Life is sweet!

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