Wednesday, June 12, 2019

APEX at the apex

Castilleja integra upstaging all the other gems
I have featured APEX at Simms in Arvada several times in my blog. This masterpiece designed by Kenton Seth and Paul Spriggs several years ago continues to mature and improve. The variety of plants contained in here (many probably not represented in public gardens anywhere in North America at least) is truly astonishing. And they are so artfully tucked in and many are beginning to seed around and pretend they've always grown here. Really, it's point and shoot: and hardly needs commentary. These pictures all taken on June 12, in the middle of a hot, glaring day (although a few clouds did come out providentially)...











Marc Hachadourian anbd his partner, Oscar Armando Rodriguez were the reason for the visit!

Marc noticed immediately the gem under Arctostaphylos pungens...

Petunia patagonica

Eriogonum ovalifolium

Maihuenia poeppigii

Castilleja integra and Opuntia debreczyi 'Potato' dancing (slowly) together


Penstemon exiliifolius looking better than it does in nature.

Eriogonum ovalifolium var. eximium about to pop!
 There's something happening in this garden every week from not to winter!


 Lovely vistas...

Eriogonum umbellatum var. porteri
 And vignettes!

Phlox nana going gangbusters at the bottom...


Those paintbrushes sure stand out!

I could go on and on about this little masterpiece: best thing to do is just go visit it. Often!

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Paradise in peril: tale of woe and wonder.


Once upon a time, as fairy tales generally start, there was a park that suffered terribly from the drought. A large area of bluegrass actually died, and it was replaced by a magical garden where Alpine Columbines (Aquilegia alpina--in the back) romped around our sugarbowl clematis (Clematis hirsutissima) in the lovely late light of afternoon.

Wonderful sweeps of groundcovers flourished, like Turkish veronica (Veronica liwanensis) and no end of treasures.... (but danger is lurking there, although modestly still: visible only to the discerning).


There are wonderful onions that behave and make quite a tall spectacle like this one...


Nolina greenei puts out its alluring flowers among the leaves...

Echinocereus coccineus

Enormous clumps of hedgehog cacti lurk around the corner...


Columbines cavort with Cylidropuntia whipplei! How crazy is that?


Agave neomexicana lengthens each day--this must have had snow on it last week!


White evening primrose (Oenothera caespitosa) spreads happily by self sowing...


Echium russicum waves its russet candles in the wind...


And choice dwarf conifers accompany our native buckwheats for a walk (a VERY slow walk, I grant you!)
Verbascum phoeniceum

Wonderful mulleins with green leaves and bright purple flowers are blooming.

Sedum tatarinowii

Plants are stunning even in mere leaves!

Sempervivum calcareum 'Mrs.Giusseppe'


Aquilegia alpina is acting as if it's back in the Alps again!

Clematis hirsutissima
And our native sugarbowl clematis looks even better than it does in the hills!

Arenaria alfacarensis

Ancient rock hard cushions of Spanish sandwort cling to a rock...


Did I mention that Aquilegia alpina looks stunning backlit, singing in chorus with Veronica liwanensis?


The only way to improve the scene is to add a backlit Clematis!

Salvia Shangri-la (Salvia indica x moorcroftiana)

Truly we must be in Shangri-la!



Riz Reyes
Extraordinary horticulturists from Seattle come to photograph and visit...


I wish I had the name of this wonderful Arilbred iris...but danger lurks if you look to the far right...


Brash, and shameless, Allium christophii makes its appearance stage right.


The iris backlit, but the Allium still sneaking in behind....

Clematis fremontii

The innocent Clematis hardly knows what's headed its way...

Clematis fremontii




A winsome portrait of a seedling that must have self sown...



If you look carefully you will see another Clematis fremontii in the middle,already thronged and being pelted and tormented by the masses of Allium christophii that are threatening to inundate the whole place...

I recall when the first handful of plants of this spectacular Allium were planted: I feared even then that Kendrick may experience what we have at Denver Botanic Gardens: namely an astronomical increase in numbers of this bulb spreading EVERYWHERE from seed.


They looks so bold, so innocent at first (surely one of the most striking of plants ever)...


But sooon they spread...


And seed far away...


And soon the cover everything.


There were once choice plants under that blanket of Allium christophii...


And MORE...


Soon all of Kendrick may become a solid mass of this Allium: perhaps their overworked Park Staff will go through and deadhead. Wouldn't it be better if the neighbors all came in and did so? they make superb flower arrangements. I wouldn't doubt that Florists would love to purchase these--I am sure each head would be worth a lot of money at the plant auction. Enough perhaps to pay for an intern to deadhead them! But that would be too sensible a solution, I suppose!

There are literally thousands of these scattered in vast battalions here and there across this--one of the finest horticultural achievements of our region: if they go to seed this year, I fear the entire garden will be swamped with them. And one of the greatest achievements of our horticultural scene will go the way of all flesh. And this blog will turn out to be not a celebration, but a requiem.

(P.S., all pictures above, (save a few of the Allium Christophii at the end--which were taken at DBG before we purged the gorgeous menace)--were taken at Kendrick Lake Park on Monday, May 27). Go see it before it's gone.

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