Friday, September 6, 2013

Loved, lost and FOUND! (a few more trophies of the past)

Haplocarpha scaposa on the highveld north of Harrismith, Orange Free State
More pictures from the past...most of them plants long gone. A few still cling to my garden with their fingernails...many of these I haven't thought of for years because they were transparencies I no longer use. But thanks to Ann Frazier, who has painstakingly scanned hundreds of old pictures in recent months, they suddenly have a new lease on life--and are found truly again! As I look at these, I remember days long gone and magical scenes in nature and in my garden--many of which will never recur.

Haplocarpha scaposa
Although abundant in the Drakensberg and the Highveld, this wonderful daisy is no longer in our collections. I never saw it growing as happily as it was one October day on the veld north of Harrismith..we stopped our bus to check them out!

Haplopappus (Stenotis) acaulis
One of the most abundant and widespread DYC of the West, I adore this plant where on the alpine tundra of the Sierra Nevada, or sagebrush steppe and desert throughout the intermountain region.

Helichrysum albobrunneum
We grew this for years and harvested lots of seed...but somehow it slipped away...

Helichrysum milfordiae
Another helichrysum that thrives in Scotland and Sweden and not so much for me...abundant in the high Drakensberg...

Helichrysum pagophilum
Abundant in the Black Mountains of Lesothos--this grew everywhere in vast mounds. Not so much for us in the garden however...

Helichrysum retortoides
This one persisted for years...until it didn't. Saw it recently, probably at Edinburgh--it's still around.

Heliophilum sp.
This was perennial and glorious and lasted several years...I forgot to harvest seed. One of the plants I most regret losing from my South African expeditions...

Hermannia "stricta" on Hantamsberg
Probably not really stricta...this won many prizes when shown at AGS shows in Britain over the last few decades...

Hermannia "stricta" on the Karoo
A horrible picture of what probably IS stricta taken on the karoo...

Hermannia sp. on pass east of Cradock, East Cape
This one was photographed high enough it may be hardy!

Hesperochiron pumilus (and friends)
This was in a trough for a few years. I wish I could recreate this picture!--the white star gentian makes an interesting twin...

Rose Mallows (Hibiscus moscheutos)
I love these things--if I only had a place to grow them...

Holothrix cf thodei?
And orchid. And rather homely. Would love to grow it nonetheless...

Hymenoxys lapidicola and Lesquerella alpina
A nice color combo, no? I still grow both of these, but they don't look this good any more...

Hypericum cerastoides
I have seen this the wild--and still have one or two struggling in the garden. One of my faves...

Hypericum sp.
Long ago lost this and its name as well...

Juniperus excelsa in Pakistan Himalaya
Somebody had to keep warm and cut this ancient juniper...

Juniperus excelsa in Pakistan Himalaya
And this one two--notice the forest beyond for scale...

Juniperus turkestanica in Pakistan Himalaya
They haven't quite gotten to this one yet...

Jurinea sp. in bud
It was monocarpic, and I neglected to save and sow seed...

Jurinea sp. in bud
I think I prefer it in bud!

Lachenalia sp. on the Roggeveld, Karoo
I only saw a few lachenalias at high elevations: boy would I love to grow this one outside!

Lamium eriophilum
This incredible endemic of the Toros Dag really needs no comment. One year I had hundreds of self sown seedlings...

NOT Leontice, but filed here in error: check back for the REAL name
(Henrik Zetterlund corrected to find his correction)..

Leontopodium nivale
It's fashionable to grouse about Eidelweiss...there are in fact dozens of spectacular species in the Himalayas, but this European is undeniably stunning...

Leucojum vernum v. carpaticum
I grew this superbly in several gardens. But in my current garden it grows but won't bloom...

Lilium candidum
For years I drove by and admired these lilies in June. Then one day they were gone and replaced with something pedestrian and I ignore the yard as I go by...(every day just about)...

Lilium formosanum pricei and Scrophularia macrantha
One of my more inspired combos--now long gone (don't even remember where I planted this...) Oh yes! It was early at Quince (I recognize the background now)...

Linanthastrum nuttallii
You can walk through acres of this on Rabbitears pass in late June or July. And we grew it for years in this garden. It and the garden are no more...I think they changed the plant's name as well..

Linum aretioides
I wish I still had this Turkish delight...

Loasa lateritia
A token of one of the most magical days in my lifetime--above Laguna del Maule, where I walked through acres of rosulate violets ankle deep--and this was on a steep scree overlooking paradise.

Lobelia x vedrariensis
These lasted a few years...a long time ago!

Lysichiton americanum
Another day I shall not forget in late April 1981 at Savill Gardens. Possibly the most wonderful garden visit I have ever had. Late afternoon--golden light and almost no other visitors. Somewhere I have pictures of glades full of this species of narcissus or that one--and the only slide scanned so far is this stretch of stream--on the other side it was all white the Russian cousin...I would like to go back to that most magnificent of English gardens one more time in the spring.....


  1. Hi Panayoti, This year I tried to grow Haplopappus (Stenotis) acaulis. I managed to get 20 seedlings from the packet of seed. I planted the seedlings in one of my crevice gardens. I later came back to find many of them pulled out of the gritty mixture. I replanted the pulled up seedlings and cover all of them with chicken wire. I came back and discovered most of them had been pulled out of the ground. The interesting thing was not a bite had been taken out of any seedling. They were lying on top of where they had been planted with all leaves and roots intact. Next, I got a screen I made from 1/4 inch mesh for sieving soil. This screen had 4 inch boards around the edges and was fully covered with screen on the top. I dug the gravel away so the boards contacted the gravel. I thought for sure this wooden box with a metal screen on the top would protect my remaining plants. I was wrong. Something had gotten through my defenses and maliciously had pulled out all my last Haplopappus (Stenotis) acaulis seedlings. Again, the leaves and roots were intact with not even a nibble taken out of them. I cannot figure out what might have done this malevolent action. It is quite puzzling. I will now have to wait until next year to try again.


  2. What an amazing story: one wonders if it was a bird or a rodent? I am sorry to hear it. I have grown this for years in troughs as well as xeriscapes. It's a pretty adaptable, fi extremely slow growing, plant. And very variable too--some forms can be quite husky and large, and I remember a spot on Highway 50 in Central Nevada where it made almost rock hard cushions of miniscule leaves...well worth the effort!

    1. My bet is the culprit was a white-footed mouse sneaking around at night. I think it is the only thing that could fit in a small gap between the board and gravel.

      For every joy I have in Rock Gardening, I must have at least four heart breaks. Reading your blog gives me little hope things might improve. You have probably loved and lost more plants than any other person I have met.

      It is amazing how a description can be so inspiring, ... "was perennial and glorious and lasted several years", and so sad simultaneous, ... "One of the plants I most regret losing..."

      However, the most disturbing pictures from this post must surely be the junipers. It makes me so sorry someone would cut them.


  3. Beautiful Panayoti, thanks for sharing
    Galen Gates

  4. Been enjoying your plants from the past PK, fascinating to reflect on such treasures as Lamium eriocephalum, one of the most beautiful plants of all time, and you say there were hundreds of self-sown seedlings, oh my! Here's another nice photo of it:

    I've seen photos of show plants of Hermannia species, and immediately fell in love with the unique disposition of the brightly hued hat-shaped flowers. And that sultry black-red Lachenalia, a genus I admire at every turn but have no hope of cultivating unless I have a spacious greenhouse for myriad tender vittles; the Lachenalia that flower without leaves remind me of waxy saprophytes like Sarcodes sanginea.

    Would like to see a follow-up on the Leontice-supposedly-NOT-Leontice. It could be a Bongardia (only just two species) or a Gymnospermium (love these!), but aside from those two possible Berberidaceae genera, there are no other choices, the one shown looks somewhat like Leontice leontopetalum subsp. ewersmannii:

    Thanks for making me think about it, every time I read one of your posts, you send me scrambling into research-mode, excellent!

  5. Nice pics, I too have seen Haplocarphya scaposa in the grasslands of eastern SA, and grow it in my new garden and school garden, though I must regenerate more since only one plant is in each place right now (and you need more than one clone to set viable seed). It generally does well here but does not like being transplanted once mature. The hermannias are to die for, I still grow your form of coccocarpa (lavenderish fl) and one from Silverhill (reddish fls), they have intermingled no doubt and grow well as annuals here but I have not had them go thru a winter yet. In fact a handful I had in a large container on a patio have mostly died in the last couple of weeks after making copious seeds. Helichrysums can suffer in hot humid weather, but H. splendidum is a survivor, and in good years (when the winters are mild) more flowers and seeds are produced. In bad years they die back more but still regrow lushly, though flower production is reduced. Would love to see more of your old South African photos scanned into digital format as time goes on.

  6. The more slides that Ann scans, the more I need to have scanned: it's addictive! Amazing how much my memory of the past is based on pictures, and that means digital pictures now. When I look back at my transparencies, it's like looking at another lifetime. Scanning them brings them back to life!

    This blog post has shot way ahead of the hundreds of others in record time: wish I knew why (way over 1000 hits in less than a month: this blog business is interesting!


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