Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Early June in the garden

Lilium croceum
It may have rained two inches last night (June 9th) so many of these flowers are nodding, although their roots are undoubtedly reveling in the drenching moisture. Surely one of the most garish of Alpine flowers, I always look forward to the virulent orange of this lily in early June,
Clematis integrifolia 'Mongolian Bells' and Orlaya grandiflora
I am so pleased at how the clematis has adapted to the dry slope in front of my house I planted a dozen more (hope there are some whites among them). One can never have enough Orlaya--a very flashy little annual that is a good neighbor and welcome in large numbers!

Vancouveria chrysantha
There is a bit of local history to this plant--first planted almost 20 years ago in a shady bed north of our Boetcher building along with various Epimediums. Irrigation was spotty--and many of the Epimediums petered out, but this spread to make a groundcover almost 8' across. Knowing that bed would be destroyed when the Freyer Newman center was built, I requested that the Vancouveria be lifted and propagated. Katy Wilcox (our chief propagator at the time) had flats and flats of this available at the fall sale a few years ago (this is one of my two trophies from that sale)...I hope the dozens of customers who bought this at a ridiculous price ($5.00 I seem to recall) know what a bargain it was. And I hope they all grew for them.

Vancouveria chrysantha
I am looking forward to this forming a little patch in the coming years!

Sisyrinchium macrocarpum
Toughest of the South American "yellow eyed grasses"--I know it's been given another name but what the heck.

Sisyrinchium macrocarpum
The flowers are really enormous for the genus--almost 2" across!

Dianthus erinaceus
Probably my best performing cushion pink--I have big clumps of this all over my rock gardens--and they always produce a good show.

Dianthus erinaceus, Fumana procumbens, Aloinopsis spathulata
When something likes you and your garden, it's important to plant young ones--since the big ones will not last forever.

Erigeron and Abies koreana 'Kohout's Icdbreaker'
I started collecting fleabanes. I figure if I have enough in my garden, I'll begin to recognize them. This is another mystery species I have had so long the label's disappeared.

Sedum nevii

Another plant I've grown for years--but only in the last few years have I found a spot where it really shows off.

Clematis hexapetala

Recently promoted by Plant Select, the "Mongolian snowflake" clematis has been one I've struggled to grow well. It produces a few lax stems--but this year I renovated the bed around it hoping it will produce the massive show it does at Denver Botanic Gardens. Introduced by the late Harlan Hamernik--a dear friend and mentor.

Catanache caespitosa
This found the sweet spot in my garden, and is starting to seed about a tad more than I want. But so be it--it's a really bright spot of color for many weeks in early summer.

Arisaema ciliatum
Smaller and earlier, this is abundant in northern Yunnan and I'm glad to have it in my garden. The larger and later A. consanguineum is just popping up nearby.

Asclepias asperula

Green flowers generally don't make the cut, but everyone who sees this one wants it. I have a number of seedlings planted nearby--some day I hope to have a whole slope of this great local native.

Senecio macrocephaljus
There are a number of rose-violet flowered senecios in the Drakensberg. This has turned out to be the best in my garden--not seeding about at all (alas!), unlike the profligate (but lovely) S. polyodon. The winter rosette on macrocephalus is 8" across: glossy and lovely. And it seems to grow in quite a range of soils and exposures, blooming on and off all summer. I rate this very high on my personal scale of gardenworthiness. It's a keeper!

Anthericum baeticum
First of the Saintly lilies to bloom: I believe this could be dubbed St. Fulano's lily from Spain. St. Bruno's and St. Bernard's come later and are much bigger.

Nigella and Peachleaf bellflower
I know Campanula persicifolia is common as dirt--as are Nigella. But I wouldn't be without them. Plant snobbery is boring.

Troughs with xeric plants (mostly miniature cacti--but a few perennials and annuals that tolerate complete baking) line the path between the "ridges"--supposedly Eastern Hemisphere on the left and American on the right. Of course, the mulleins don't care about geographical niceties!

I've grown a dozen species of mullein the last few years, and a large percentage of my plants turn out to be hybrid (and thankfully sterile). They bloom pretty much non-stop for the next three or four months--what stamina! Especially since they're not watered here ad summers are long, hot and frequently dry.

Argemone munita

Equally welcome, prickly poppies seem to be spreading (to my delight). They do have sharp little prickles--which I welcome. This is one of a half dozen or so native wildflowers that grew on this property when we bought it that we encourage to stay and spread, Tradescantia occidentalis and Mentzelia nuda being the other favorites. The three native Ambrosia, however, are among my worse weeds--go figure.

Can't get enough of those flowers!

Jan's favorite bearded iris. Mine too: and of course I forgot the cultivar name. Check back--I'll see if I can find it (I have thousands of pictures in my Iris files--where to start looking?)

Scutellaria orientalis ssp. pinnatifida and Salvia phlomoides and friends
A final vignette from the rock garden, which has lots of color as well as dying bulb foliage. There is a cost to trying to grow everything!


  1. How do you "renovate a bed around" a plant? I share your thoughts about plant snobbery!

    1. I peeled a 2" thick carpet of creeping (well over a meter square) which I think was impeding its growth, as well as a number of other perennials that weren't paying rent, brought in compost and gently tilled it in around the plant: I think the clematis looks happier already!

  2. If my memory is correct, the Clematis fremontii I grew from your seed flowered this year for the first time. I think the reason they did not flower before is the rabbits nipped off the flower buds before I had noticed them. Last year, I planted the Clematis integrifolia I grew from your seed in my garden. They are growing well. I also have some healthy Clematis hexaphylla from your seed in my propagation flats. Maybe next year I will finally get to planting them.

    This year I am growing Lilium philadelphicum from seed. I have over 100 seedlings. I am planning on growing them for a few years and then planting them at a local nature sanctuary. Your Lilium croceum reminds me of the L. philadelphicum I am growing.

    I still have one Dianthus erinaceus I grew from your seed. I had two, but the second one died from the polar vortex. The one that survived died back to the root but was able to recover. The polar vortex also killed the one Scutellaria orientalis ssp. pinnatifida I grew from your seed.

    Campanula persicifolia and Nigella may be as common as dirt in Denver. However, I’ve never seen them grown in the city where I live.

    I often think about how limited our chances to see flowers are in a lifetime. I look forward to seeing certain flowers every year. Before I know it, they are gone.

    1. I'm amazed and humbled by your success with so many plants from seed from me: I am delighted that they're doing so well. I have a soft spot for all the herbaceous perennial type clematis--and the Eastern and Midwestern US is their stronghold--so I'm not surprised they're happy in Chicago. I agree with your comment on our few chances to see these in our lifetimes. "Gather ye rosebuds while ye may".


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