Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Veronica liwanensis in the wild!


I'm not why I was so surprised when we found our first Veronica liwanensis in the Little Caucasus--not far from Bakuriani. And the first sighting was by far the most dramatic, tucked here and there on the cliffs in brilliant wads of blue...


First introduced to cultivation by the McPhail and Watson Expedition to Turkey in 1977, John Watson told me that it was quite local and not terribly abundant in the Turkish mountains at the northeast corner of that country. That area is not terribly distant from the Georgian Caucasus where we found the veronica again and again...


It grew in a wide variety of sites, from open soil to crevices such as these--at moderate elevations in the mountains and down along river valleys in much drier steppe as well. We did not see this at the higher, more alpine elevations.


This species has become a mainstay in horticulture in much of America--especially in Colorado--where it has proved to be an extremely adaptable, durable and beautiful groundcover.


Ibe last cameo with the lushest clump we found...


And here a closeup of a smaller tuft to give you a clear picture of the leaves and blossoms.


This is an historical photograph: I took this in the late 1980's when there was a mass planting of the species carpeting the entire East West pathway of the Botanic Gardens where the Orangerie now overlooks MUCH larger Crabapples nowadays. Hard to believe not a leaf of this planting (once hundreds of feet long) survives to this day! We are talking 30 years ago!


This was also taken about then: a wonderful example of what a great carpeting plant this is under bulbs, in this case Allium karataviense.

One of my great pleasures in travel is to find plants I've grown in the garden in their wild habitats. Few have delighted me as finding this choice Turkish groundcover thriving in the wild!

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