Sunday, September 30, 2018

End of September: still a few glimmering embers!

Silphium pinnatifidum
No, I'm not going to start singing the Fantasticks! But there are still some fantastic plants hanging in there: first bloom on one of the lesser known Silphiums--a genus of spectacular native American composites that are favorites of mine (although they take up a LOT of room!). They're worth it!

Closeup of the same. A gift of Peter Zale--one of America's premier plantsmen. It came originally from Clark County, Illinois. It reminds me of a yellow cyclamen!

 I envy the Californians the vast array of hardy succulents there...but some are worth trucking in and out...this Echeveria is a champion! It's put up with abuse (fell off that perch more than once--but not in this pot)...lost the cultivar name: help anyone?

Glaucium acutidentatum
My garden could be termed "Horn Poppy Heaven" or hell as you choose to interpret. I think there's some blooming from April to November. I love 'em!

Hylotelephium (Sedum)  'Matrona'
 This erstwhile sedum looks graceful dancing around the mullein and the manly clumps of Festuca mairei. Why manly? Pat Hayward (past CEO of Plant Select) nixed the grass "cause only a man would like it!"... I was too slow to retort that "men matter too, my dear. And we need to lure more of them into the garden center!". If it takes cacti, grasses and conifers to do it, so be it! I suspect Pat would be all over the conifers which she loves, but cacti and grasses...not so much! Hasn't stopped her with stuffing her magnificent garden with them!

Opuntia tortispina
 It will take a while to get used to shedding "O. phaeacantha" and adopting one of the innumerable new species names that used to be phaes...Now to get a genuine phaeacantha so I can learn to distinguish them myself!

Opuntia tortispina
A closer look: it's really a magnificent beast.

Opuntia aff. azurea

The fruits are as pretty as the flowers--and last a hell of a lot longer!

Sedum (Phedimus) hybridum
 Quite different from the wild form we collected in the Altai--this commonly cultivated form of S. hybridum (I just can't bring myself to adopt the "other" name, which I think is best relegated to being a subgenus). It is indispensible as far as I'm concerned: albeit it is cursed by being so easy to grow.

Rumex scutatus 'Silver Shield'
 Rumex scutatus (in this cultivar to be sure) is definitely one of the least appreciated and most valuable shade perennials. It looks simply stunning right now: and very well behaved, despite it's being a Rumex! Alas, not widely availabe commercially....yet!

Chrysanthemum weyrichii 'Elfreda"
 Another fantastic groundcover for shade: heck, this thrives in full sun or DENSE shade--and grows in almost any kind of soil: how many plants can boast that? Although it flowers sparsely in shade--here it is under my Carpinus--a tough spot. There are innumerable selections, but this one was made by my volunteer, Elfreda Sacarto--an utterly wonderful woman and superb gardener--who graced my life for decades. She's been gone since 2005 but I think of her tenderly when I see this outstanding plant.

Colchicum procurrens
 Lots of colchicums and crocuses are blooming around the yard, but still mostly closed in the cloudy light: this tiny one is out enough to show the bright anthers.

Stipa extremorientalis
 Possibly my "signature" grass--no one seems to grow it but me. But it's all over the garden. I love it.

Achnatherum splendens
Or perhaps THIS is my signature grass: collected on the steppes of Kazakhstan in the fall of 2010, it's settled happily into my garden where the very high flower stems wave in the wind for months.

Pelargonium x hybrid
 I wouldn't be without pellies--and the zonals are among my favorites. They bloom like crazy forever, and that piercing salmon red! Ooo lala!

Zauschneria (Epilobium) septentrionalis
 I know, I know--we're supposed to lump these hummingbird pollinated xerophytes with the pinky, weedy mesophytic Epilobium...D.N.A. undoubtedly reveals their proximity, but it's obvious they're doing their damndest to get away from their dysfunctional home and live under a safe new alias far far away!

Orostachys fimbriata
Just gets taller and taller...

Aeonium tabuliforme

Every fall we play the game of "Chicken": how late can we leave the tender house plants outdoors before frost mars or kills them?

In the next week or so this will migrate in...but dang it, it looks so good out there!

It's warming up--time to go plant some bulbs!


  1. I've never heard of Silphium pinnatifidum before. The leaves look much like hybrids between S. laciniatum and S. terebinthinaceum that are present in local restorations. However, I've never seen them with reflexed petals like in your photo.

  2. It's great "revisiting" your garden in this blog, after having the pleasure of roaming around in it physically and photographically, so many treasures and photo-worthy temptations; I even appreciated the dangerous parts of the garden. That Orostachys fimbriata is just plain rude, wish I had a gaggle of em here. Your horticultural dare or die with Aeonium tabuliforme strikes a familiar note with tender & choice South American Nothoscordum species such as little yellow montevidense that blooms in a major way twice per year, starting in autumn with the pots plunged outside all summer, continuing some bloom inside in winter, and then flowering again in spring. One year I lost the dare or die game with my tender nothos, I blame it on my work load. Back to the Aeonium pancake, just look at that Fibonacci sequence spiral pattern, love it!


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