Showing posts from October, 2017

Spikethrift envy: a little interlude

While I sift through and organize my images for a re-visit to Gothenburg, I thought I'd revisit a plant I saw there: Acantholimon "ulicinum"--a large complex of species really which I call spikethrift*...This time of year it seems as though more and more Denverites (and Americans generally) are placing pots of muffin-shaped Chrysanthemums in pots on their front stoops--in lieu of marble lions, perhaps? These mums have been painstakingly bred to a dense, mounding form like THIS below:

This "pulvinate" cushion form that so many alpine plants achieve without even trying very hard! My favorite cushion plants (although I advise you not to try using them as cushions--more like pincushions!) are found from Albania to Central Asia. We have a substantial collection at Denver Botanic Gardens, but they are not terribly fond of my home garden where I only have a few. One that has proved especially captious for us--but seems to be surprisingly widespread in European botani…

The connoisseur's botanic garden part 1

I begin with a colchicum, which is no accident. Sweden is on the periphery of the distribution of wild colchicums, but Gothenburg Botanic Garden is the very epicenter of Colchicum research. The largest collection of the genus in cultivation resides here, curated by Karin Persson--she and her husband Jimmy (who was senior curator at the garden) spent many decades collecting and studying Colchicums throughout their range. I had always hoped I might visit in autumn at colchicum time, and this past September I finally had my chance!

Before we delve into the bulb areas (where I always make a bee-line), I'll linger a bit on the way to enjoy the many other delightful features of this gardener's garden. Although it contains precious collections of plants, the garden is also very much a park beloved by the people of the region. There are expansive lawns, forests and ponds here and there--all very restful. The entryway (above) is typically simple and unpretentious. September is not exa…