|Globularia cordifolia and supplicant|
Surely this has to be the most impressive G. cordifolia on the planet? Kew had lots of champions.
Yes...we're still in the Kew Rock Garden area...I guess this is as good a place as any to say that a Botanic Garden without an ambitious rock garden really is...well....incomplete. You'll be hard put to find a botanic garden anywhere in Europe without a rock garden. They are often rather ramshackle and sometimes neglected--but they invariably have some fantastic plants in them. And that's where the plant nerds end up (on the outside grounds: conservatories and greenhouses are something else again).
But the best botanic gardens: Kew, Edinburgh's, Gothenburg, Munich, Wurzburg (and many more in Central Europe especially) the rock garden is where the best stuff is. And properly designed and planted, they beat any other garden style down pat. At least in THIS rock gardeners opinion!
I would like to grow every Satureja on the planet. There are a finite number.
Plant Select's Echium "amoenum" apparently is supposedly this: there are two things passed around with this name. This appears to be the taller, biennial sort. Then there is a dwarfer, more perennial species. That's the one to get!
Always a joy to see this South African gem: there it grows in a pure green form, and then there's a dwarf, very woolly white form. I want them all!
Sometimes the labels are nestled in the foliage...I forgot to take a long shot of this--I have a strange fondness for this genus which I have discovered harbors enormous drought tolerance.
What a treat to see this pink Chinese species...wonder if it's as weedy as Pokeweed?
If you haven't noticed, we've wandered into the Order beds, where plants are arranged by their family associations following the classic Bentham and Hooker classification system (I presume) rather than Engler and Prantl: if you understand that sentence, you have a healthy dose of Botany as well as Horticulture in you!
I'm curious where Kew got their germplasm: it's obviously long lived (or lovingly maintained: its accession number indicates it was obtained in 1969. The species has been attributed to Colorado, although I think ours now goes by A. munita and is a stunning must grow for me.
|One of no end of borders|
As a nit-picking plant nerd, I had to check out all my favorite genera (Veronica is one of these) in the Order beds. The Kew accession of V. pectinata looks NOTHING like ours. Since theirs is not the least pectinate, I'm thinking ours may be the correct one, but you never know: this is Kew after all!...
Their 'Germander Veronica' looks more like we grow under that name, which is reassuring. Not exactloy--but it is a widespread and variable species.
It's reassuring in a way that not every Veronica at Kew is named: I chuckled because I grow this one too (and I don't have a name for it). The landscape in Greece, Turkey and the Caucasus is speckled blue from seashore to the highest peaks with veronica blossoms: although I have grown dozens of species, when I've traveled to those countries I'm hard put to put a name on most of what I see.
For a while there was an attempt to segregate a few South American Irids that were long called Sisyrinchium as Phaiophleps, and this one being called P. snigricans. But it appears that few have heeded that call: apparently a blue-eyed-grasss is a blue-eyed-grass--even if it's straw yellow and giant. We grew this a few years in Denver in the 80's before it succumbed to cold: I keep trying...just a tad tender for us, so I look at a mass like this at Kew with wonderment and envy.
And there's even a Bonsai house!
And a plot of vegetables!
And a gleefully mislabeled Campanula rapunculoides (aka "Cancer of the garden"): this made me pause. Are we looking at some skewed English Humor here, a la Monty Python? Surely one of the hundreds of staff at this most supreme of public gardens must have noticed the egregious error? I'm opting for the wry English humor as explanation.
I'm guessing on the species name: I didn't photograph the label. Of course, fringed loosestrife is just another native plant in Europe. This drives native plant nuts crazy in America--especially on the East Coast and Midwest. It's not sold in Colorado, although I doubt it would ever be a problem: I know of a few plants that have grown for decades in some local gardens with nary a seedling (although a friend did drag me indignantly to one small wet spot north of town where a few dozen plants had established: she was annoyed that I wasn't spitting mad like she was).
|Helichrysum orientale 1942-1801|
Another pet genus of mine: I dote on Helichrysum! The Mediterranean complex including this species, H. plicatum and H. italicum have graced my gardens for decades. I struggled to shoehorn one into a Plant introduction program I once managed, but others weren't impressed. Here they have lovingly maintained this plant since 1942! One of the many things about Kew that has astonished me over the decades is the fantastic dedication they have to maintaining the integrity of their collections: no institution is more dedicated to preserving their collections than Kew. One of the principal reasons the name carries such awesome weight.
I'm reasonably sure this is the correct name for this: I failed to photograph the label. I doubt it was missing a label (Kew is probably the most consistently labeled garden anywhere): more likely, I thought it was too obvious to photograph! This is closely allied to the hardier I. tectorum that I do grow--and since this genus is near the top of my favorites I had to do the closeup, closer-up and further away shots, which follow herewith.
|Salvia microphylla 'Hot Lips'|
When I took this picture, this was still a bit of a novelty although it's become a Universal work horse since than--even "hardy in Denver" where I've grown it since before I took this picture.
A mystery penstemon whose label I forgot to photograph: a tender hybrid no doubt (tender in Denver, not at Kew)
|Salvia greggii 'Sungold'|
And more salvias (another of my pet favorites)
Oops: I slipped back to the rock garden yet again--charmed with this vignette with a Wahlenbergia...
A wonderfully sited specimen in the E. cheilanthifolium complex: far too rarely seen in gardens.
|Iris spuria ssp. notha|
As a spcies iris afficionado, I had to photograph the elegant dwarf spuria hobnobbing with the lovely chalice of a lily (Lilium croceum perhaps?)
I was intrigued to find a distinctive tansy (which I've never grown) with the scientific name inflicted to many years to partridge feather (Tanacetum densum ssp. amani), which was featured in the second Kew blog post...
A rather homely picture I know: but a plant I grew decades ago and eventually lost. I trod the Olympus where it comes from (Ulu Dag in Turkey) and never found it. I take pictures like this to prod me later to follow up and try and get seed. Photography is a tool that serves many purposes!
A wonderful violet blue cousin to Salvia greggii that has proved quite hardy in Denver.
A tough little salvia from Arizona, that's proved durable for me in Denver: in fast...it's in full bloom for me now at the end of September..
|Salvia microphylla 'Trebah'|
And another Mexican salvia--only one I doubt will prove hardy. 'Hot lips' is the only one that's stuck around of this species for me. I'm afraid we'll be ending the plants with a rather sour note...
Ironically this trip when we stopped at Kew was en route to Central Asia--and we were to see miles of the true Sedum hybridum everywhere in the Altai. The REAL Sedum hybridum has bright yellow flowers. This has to be another variation of Sedum spurium, which has an enormous range in Western, Central and East Asia and is quite variable. Even Homer nods!