Saturday, November 23, 2019

China beckons...gingerly!

Roscoea humeana
I have been lucky enough in my lifetime to find myriad Roscoeas in bloom on Gangheba pass in Yunnan on three different occasions. The first time, in May 22 years ago they were just barely out of the ground like this.

Roscoea humeana
 I believe that's a spider lurking in the mouth of this one...

Roscoea cauthleioides
 This year most were up a bit higher like this one--last year the season was much further along (although earlier on the calendar!) and the Roscoea were all quite tall...

Roscoea schneideriana
At first I thought this was another R. humeana, but I've been convinced it's this less known species...the color variation was astonishing at this site...

Green wall along street in Chengdu
So exciting to see long living walls filled with maidenhair ferns and other choice plants along the large thoroughfares of this, one of the largest cities in the world!

And looking out from my hotel room in Chengdu--an ambitious intensive green roof enticingly close!
Those are real flowers!
In a Naxi village near Lijiang, the villagers greeted us with gorgeous garlands--I'll spare you the shots of us fellows wearing them however!
Jade Dragon mountains from Rock's village
The majesty of the Chinese snow ranges has to be seen to be believed!

Lavish banquet every night
And every meal was different and tremendously varied and always delicious!

Stellera chamaejasme in Yunnan
A typical view of the masses of choice flowers one finds, even near villages where overgrazing can encourage the growth of some plants, like this spectacular (poisonous) daphne relative.

Rhododendron rupicolum v. chryseum on Baimashan
And a parting shot--at over 14,000' on Baima Shan Pass near Shangrila: those are yellow flowered rhododendrons growing on limestone substrate--an upcoming issue of the North American Rock Garden Society's Quarterly bulletin will show many more fantastic plants we found near that valley cleft...

This coming summer I'm planning a return to China--only to new very rich pastures in Sichuan. Harry Jans and our fantastic tour organizer in China (Carolyn Gao) have planned an itinerary that will feature some of the greatest botanical hot spots of the Himalayas. The price is fair, and those who've already signed up are some of the greatest plant lovers I know: why not give yourself the Christmas gift of a lifetime and join us? Find out more (and sign up!) by clicking on this link below:

希望明年夏天在中國見!(Hope to see you in China next summer!)


  1. Nice photos, looks quite exciting. Is stellera growable in cultivation, they sure look like weeds in your photo. Very nice "weeds" :)

  2. I grew the pink and white Stellera chamaejasme for many years. We once had a whole flat of seedlings that were growing lustily at Denver Botanic Gardens--they fumes from our boiler apparently killed them. Always thought of as challenging in gardens (I think getting seed is half the problem, Ernie!)


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