Thursday, March 19, 2020

Happy Spring! The good side of sequestering! (a little recap of late winter)

Pulsatilla halleri
 Those poor souls who don't have gardens full of treasures and big libraries are probably watching television and eating junk food right now...but gardeners in general (and rock gardeners in particular) are reveling in a chance to spend more time with our minions and finally read that stack of books that's been glowering at us for months...(that pasqueflower, by the way, was photographed a week ato in the Rock Alpine Garden at Denver Botanic Gardens--which are regrettably locked up in response to the Covid-19 virus)...

Acanttholimon spp and co.
 While others are sitting on their buns, rock gardeners are busy admiring their own! but not in such narcissistic again pictured at DBG where they look marvelous year 'round.

Iris x histrioides 'George'
 I have yet to figure out which of my clever colleagues planted hundreds of reticulate irises out front of Denver Botanic Gardens--but they love it there, have clumped up enormously and have made a spectacle for weeks...
A small part of the aforesaid planting...I love it!

My amazing colleague Mike Kintgen has the most astonishing bulb planting in his buffalo grass
 Sandy Snyder invented the growing of bulbs in buffalo grass nearly 35 years ago: her lawn is now solid bulbs. Don't you love the daffodil in front? (Mike will have to give me the name: I believe it's Narcissus hispanicus: check back to be sure)...

Bulbocodium vernum
I believe this has been sunk into the vast Colchicum genus, but at my age we're allowed to be fuddy duddies...

Cyclamen coum

Crocus sieberi 'Bowles' White'
 I have half a dozen white crocus blooming right now (C. biflorus, C. malyi, C. chrysanthus forms and more) but this is my favorite!

I just missed the Adonis when they first emerge and are all flowers when I was in Pennsylvania--but have enjoyed them since!

Narcissus romieuxii 'Julia Jane'
 I am tickled pink that this wonderful hoop petticoat has settled in and is clumping up--for its own sake and because it was found and named by Jim Archibald, one of my dearest friends and heros.

Colchicum szovitsii
 The picture is so misleading: this is a tiny mite: I've seen pictures taken in the Caucasus and Iran where this grows by the million...

Scilla mitschenkoana
 I love this genus--and this is a good species... but there are some I dream of!

Chyrsospleniun macrophyllum
 I was afraid this wouldn't be hardy...but I was thrilled to find my first year clump decided to bloom: this can be almost weedy in maritime climates. I shall be delighted should it prove thuggish!

Iris x reticulata 'Eye Catcher'
And now for the Iridictyon irises! I have always loved these, and thanks to Alan Bradshaw (whom I've known for a very long time) this group has taken center stage in the early spring gardeb. I don't think they need much commentary!

Iris reticulata 'Sea breeze'

Iris reticulata 'Spot on'
 Mine are up, but can't compare with the clumps in the Rock Alpine Gaden, see below...

Iris reticulata 'Spot On'

Iris reticulata 'Natasha'
This one turned out less white than I imagined--but still very elegant.

Iris reticulata 'Palm Springs'

Iris reticulata 'Painted Lady'
This one has been especially adaptable...

Iris reticulata (MYSTERY)
For the sake of me I can't trace this in anything I purchased the last two years: surely the most amazing enormous reticulata of them all: help anyone?

Iris x histrioides 'Katharine Hodgkin'
I have blogged about this one before: the strange flowers are upstaged by many others--but it remains a favorite.

Iris x histrioides 'Katharine's Gold'
Supposedly a sport on the latter, this stunning iris is in its own class of beauty. Possibly my favorite--and a vigorous grower!

Iris x reticulata 'Sunshine'
Brightest of the yellow hybrids..

Iris x reticulata 'Mars Landing'
Too weird for words! Couldn't get a decenpt photo of it this year--but last year I managed lots!

Iris x reticulata 'North Star'
One of the first and loveliest...

Iris x reticulata 'Scent Sational'
I keep forgetting to stoop and smell this one..

Iris x reticulata 'Blue Note'
Another toughie...

Galanthus nivalis 'Hippolyta'
A surprise for me: planted last fall, this came up vigorously and all the bulbs bloomed on tall stems--much better than the other double snowdrops! Looking forward to having these bulk up!

Galanthus Mystery
And unnamed gift from a friend in Maryland: anyone have a suggestion of what it might be?

Erythronium caucasicum
I was thrilled this came back strong a second year--a plant I found abundant (in seed) in the Imereti region of the Caucasus two years ago this spring.. By far the earliest fawn lily to bloom (a half dozen other species and hybrids are just poking up)...

It's snowing like crazy outside as I type this on the "first dag of spring"...ohwell.

Hang in there friends! Be glad we have our gardens, our friends and the internet to help while away the time. And hope we emerge before very long from this new strange challenge athwart our paths.


  1. Iris 'Mars Landing' is brown. Could yours be 'Sea Green'?

  2. I've just received a note from Kate Hodgkin. It says, and I quote, "Who's he calling "strange"? Surely not MOI?"

  3. Love all of those little irises. Such a colorful array of them. I don't think I seen them all in person. That would be a lovely sight.

  4. Thank you for that lovely tour -- you have now inspired me to go shopping for more little irises ;-).

  5. I've never grown this iris, but could it be Iris reticulata 'Dark Blue.'

  6. Every year I fret on whether my two remaining Iris winogradowii have survived. I originally had five. I did not realize that they deserved special treatment when I first planted them. They are now much harder to obtain. As their numbers declined and I realized they could not be replaced, I have now started pampering them with focused weed removal and annual addition of compost. My other dwarf irises emerge, some bloom, others have their blooms beginning to fade and yet there is no sign of Iris winogradowii. Each day during early spring, I look at the spot in my garden where I had planted Iris winogradowii with consternation. Yet, there is no sign of life. Not until today when I finally notice a leaf starting to poke up through the soil. Since my plants are still recovering the energy needed to bloom, and the leaves emerge after the flowers, each year I will stress about this little yellow iris until I finally see those first leaves. Hopefully, with a few more years of pampering, they will flower and the bulbs will multiply. At that time, I will be able to divide them into many plants and hopefully at some point have enough to share.


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